Minnesota ACLU board targets constitutional amendments
by Jake Grovum
Published: February 14,2012
Time posted: 8:33 am
Tags: ACLU, constitutional amendment, Leslie Sandberg, Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense Fund, minnesotans united for all families, same-sex marriage, vote no 2012, Voter ID
The Board of Directors for the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is preparing a 2012 push to defeat the constitutional amendments backed by Republican majorities at the Capitol — all of them.
Late last week, the ACLU board filed papers with the state’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board establishing Vote No 2012, a coordinated statewide effort that will look to enlist the group’s more than 8,000 members in defeating amendments ranging from same-sex marriage and right to work to proposals that would restrict tax increases and spending.
“Minnesota’s Constitution should never be amended to serve the political agenda of any one group,” said Leslie Sandberg, chair of the Vote No 2012 Committee. “Vote No 2012 was created fight against any amendment that would place prejudice and discrimination over rights and freedoms in our Constitution.”
The group is the latest effort in what’s quickly becoming a crowded campaign environment as groups from all sides of the issues in question prepare for an expensive campaign before any of the amendments are put to a vote this November.
Minnesotans United for All Families, for instance, has received national backing and has formed alliances with a host of Minnesota interests — including the ACLU — to coordinate efforts to defeat the same-sex marriage amendment. The Catholic Church and aligned interests are mobilizing on the other side as well.
Meanwhile, labor is said to be gearing up for a fight should Republicans succeed in putting a right-to-work amendment on the ballot. Opponents of Voter ID, including Take Action Minnesota and dozens of faith-based groups, have also been mobilizing in recent weeks.
So far, only one constitutional amendment is sure to be on the ballot in November, a move to ban same-sex marriage. It’s though Republicans are committed to putting Voter ID on the ballot as well, but whether there will be any additional amendments put before voters seems still up for debate in GOP caucuses. Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem has said he’d be hesitant to put more than three before voters.
Vote No 2012′s efforts kicked off Monday with a news conference that included DFLers offering $1,000 bounty for any instance of voter fraud in the state, an illustration, the group said, of why the regulation was unnecessary. Going forward, the group will look to raise money and campaign in any way that’s seen as helpful to the cause, Sandberg said.
“This is ‘Vote No’ on everything,” she said. “Where we can be helpful, we want to be helpful.”