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With Democratic governor Mark Dayton’s signature, Minnesota becomes the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The marriage-equality movement has been racking up wins since Vice President Biden and President Obama came out for same-sex marriage in 2012. But Minnesota presents a special symbolic win for the movement, as it is the home of one of the most virulent defenders of “traditional marriage” — Michele Bachmann.

“…Bachmann opposed marriage equality with a religious fervor, viewing it as a struggle for the future of society,” Mother Jones‘ Timothy Murphy reported. As a state legislator, she introduced an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004 when President George W. Bush made a Constitutional amendment banning such marriages a cornerstone of his campaign, though his running mate Dick Cheney supported letting states decide if gay couples should be allowed to wed.

Bachmann also reportedly led a group of her fellow “Christian” activists to pray over the desk of the state senator who first placed same-sex marriage on the ballot.

Today the congresswoman represents what’s left of the active same-sex marriage opposition that has basically disappeared from American politics, except in the reddest of states. Only far-right fundamentalists, who often seem to be in denial about their own marriages, remain obsessed with the issue — and they seem to have lost their most powerful ally.

One single group has been most responsible for and effective in opposing equal marriage, according to Mother Jones‘ Stephanie Mencimer:

Consider that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was the single biggest funder and organizer of the 2008 campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in one of America’s most liberal states. The church is estimated to have directed at least $20 million to that effort, along with significant organizing clout.

But after their involvement in supporting Prop 8 was exposed and attracted ridicule, Mormon leaders decided to withdraw from the political battlefield.

“In the other four states last year that had marriage, you didn’t see the Mormon church anywhere,” says Kevin Nix, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, told Mencimer.

Some speculate that the group didn’t want to muddy the waters for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, but Mormons were not seen alongside the Catholics and evangelicals opposing the bill in Minnesota.

If the Church of Latter-Day Saints has truly given up the fight and the Supreme Court overturns the Defense of Marriage Act as expected — allowing same-sex couples the federal benefits of marriage — it’s easy to imagine blue state after blue state quickly catching up with Michele Bachmann’s Minnesota

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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