Scott "Cicero" Newman (
by Steve Timmer
Mar 14, 2013, 2:00 PM

Republicans haul out the Nuclear Talking Point

I’ve been waiting for Republicans to trot out the ultimate Republican Home World talking point on the marriage equality debate: Gosh, it might cost money. And as surely as night follows day, here it is. In a story from Patrick Condon of the AP:

Both on the Senate floor and in a Rules Committee meeting, Democrats who control the chamber defeated a series of Republican motions to postpone its progress. Republicans said they were simply seeking more information about whether it would cost tax money to allow gay couples to marry — in court costs, state employee benefits and other areas.

Scotty Newman, one of the many Ciceros in the Senate Republican Caucus, is quoted:

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans produced a document they said shows that authorizing gay marriage could cost the state’s insurance fund over $600,000 a year to provide coverage to spouses of gay state employees. They questioned whether it could also increase court costs or have other ramifications on state spending, and said the bill should be reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees spending.

“I think it’s going to cost the state of Minnesota a bunch of money,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. “I think that impact is going to be significant. If I’m wrong, so be it.”

If I’m wrong, so be it. Let me translate that for you: I have not idea what I’m talking about. None. But that doesn’t mean I won’t make the argument to try to derail the bill.

Newman reminds me of Robert Delahunty, who wrote so hauntingly last fall, when trying to make an analogy to the gay marriage ban amendment being considered: Remember, emancipation expanded the rights of the slaves, but it diminished the property rights of the slave owners. (You need to follow the link just to see the graphic.)

Yes, it hit them right in the pocketbook! Delahunty was trying make the point — rather ineptly, no? — that marriage equality would not only give gays and lesbians the right to marry, it would deprive some people of the right to not live around icky married gay people.

Sen. Newman makes a similar poisonous claim. But the last time I looked, the Fourteenth Amendment did not say that people were entitled to equal protection unless it cost money.

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