Senator Franken talks marriage, bullying and Bachmann

Andrew Harmon spent 15 minutes talking to Minnesota Senator Al Franken. It sure sounded like a fascinating 15 minutes — and there was no shortage of material:

Advocate: You were one of several pro–marriage equality senators who told us that the president should come out in support of full marriage rights. Why do you believe it’s important that he does so now?

I believe very strongly in marriage equality, and I’d like him to show that kind of leadership. He says he’s evolving, and I don’t know what that exactly means. I think that he probably made a political decision in 2008. That doesn’t really shock me, but I’m hoping that he’s moving to the right and moral position.

I’ve seen incredibly fast movement in public opinion and the attitudes of even some of my conservative colleagues here. On repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” we had two senators who had voted against cloture on the bill and then changed their votes in the end—[Nevada] Sen. Ensign and [North Carolina] Sen. Burr. I think their calculus there was that they understood that they were going against the curve of history if they voted against [DADT repeal].

The president has said that states should decide the marriage issue and that New York was an example of that process. Do you believe the people of your state have the right to decide the issue at the ballot?

They have the legal right, now. Do they have the moral right? No. I just think that marriage equality is a right for everyone. I mean, marriage is the best thing that happened to me. This idea that same-gender couples are a threat to marriage … first of all, it’s ridiculous logically. Elizabeth Taylor—wonderful woman—was married how many times? Is that less of a threat to marriage than a same-gender couple being married once?

Are you confident that Minnesotans will vote against putting discrimination into the state constitution?

I think we’ll win this one, but I think it will be very close. We’re a very divided state, and on this issue I don’t have the strongest sense on where it’s going to be. I know there are people who just have their views and are against marriage equality.

Rep. Michele Bachmann being one of them.

Yes, I think she’ll vote for the amendment.

There’s more and it’s worth a read.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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