Forget the Supermajority: Why Seating Al Franken Is Good for Gays


When the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously voted to seat Al Franken as the state’s newest U.S. senator, it did more than force Norm Coleman to concede and create a supermajority for Democrates in the Senate. It added a gay rights ally to the legislature.

Given the Democrats’ inability to agree on most things, the idea of a liberal supermajority in the Senate actually isn’t that promising. Legislators will continue the trend of not sticking to party lines with their votes. The supermajority will matter when it comes to the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice, but otherwise, perhaps not. But how will adding Franken to the bunch help folks like us?

Well: He’s a vocal, on-the-record supporter of same-sex marriage. Acknowledging how wonderful his own marriage is, Franken has said how he couldn’t imagine keeping that right away from The Gays.

Also: If elected senator, Franken had told supporters he’s in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, enacting trans-inclusive federal hate crimes protection, and passing workplace anti-discrimination laws.

Perhaps Franken’s one sticking point? His free use of gender insults — though making the jokes is what he knows. In June 2008, he issued this statement: “On Wednesday’s segment, I falsely claimed that Sean Hannity was born a hermaphroditic conjoined twin, and that the doctor who delivered him reacted in horror. I would like to apologize to members of the intersexed and conjoined-twin communities for furthering the unjustified stigma attached to these conditions. An estimated one in 2000 people are born with atypical genitalia, which, like conjoinment, is a naturally-occurring bodily variation. I am sorry for the ill-considered joke.”

Oh, and maybe this is most important of all: Franken isn’t Norm Coleman. That guy voted for a constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage and scored 100% from the “pro-family” Christian Coalition (never a good sign).

PICTURED: Franken at last week’s Twin Cities Gay Pride Parade. (Photo: Tim Davis)