Tim Pawlenty

If there’s one thing gays and lesbians love, it’s a good “political game,” especially if that game involves a partner dying.

Or so Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty apparently thinks. He vetoed a bill that would have allowed gays and lesbians to file wrongful death lawsuits and make funeral arrangements for their deceased partners.

Now you may be thinking, “Woah, wait a minute. This sounds like the kind of bill even the most cold-hearted homophobe could get behind.” It certainly seems so. Surely Pawlenty must have had a very compelling reason for his veto.

Not so much, it turns out.

“I think the effort that’s underway in this bill is simply a political game to get the concept or the wording ‘domestic partner’ into state law,” he said. “And I would suggest the Legislature focus on addressing our budget issues rather than trying to tee up divisive social issues.”

Ah, yes. This whole bill was just a ploy, a tentacle of the “gay agenda,” if you will. First gays came to destroy “traditional marriage.” Now gays are going after “traditional death.” This has nothing to do with compassion and dignity and respecting the wishes of the dead and everything to do with politics.

Pawlenty said that the measure, known as the “Final Wishes” bill, “addresses a nonexistent problem.”

He’s right on one level: The problems the bill addresses are nonexistent for married heterosexuals. But for gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota who aren’t allowed to get married, the problem is all too real.

But, as Pawlenty mentioned in his veto letter, all gays and lesbians have to do is just whip up some paperwork and, voilà, problem solved. That is, if they’ve got a grand or two to spare at their favorite lawyer’s office. Nevermind that such paperwork does not have the same legal weight afforded legally married couples.

“His comment that the proposed legislation is unnecessary shows he is out of step with the experiences of real Minnesotans,” said Ann Kaner-Roth, executive director of Minnesota gay-rights group Project 515. “Many families have faced exactly the kind of discrimination this legislation sought to prevent even though they had put in place all of the legal and other preparations available to them under current law.”

Not that Pawlenty, who is widely believed to be gearing up for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, cares. As Alex Pareene puts it on Salon.com, “[Pawlenty’s] no longer obligated to give a shit what his constituents think — he’s governing solely for the editors of the Weekly Standard and our nation’s conservative newspaper columnists.”

Pawlenty also bristles at the idea of a “surviving domestic partner” being “afforded the same legal recognition” as a heterosexual spouse.

“Marriage — as defined as between a man and a woman — should remain elevated in our society at a special level, as it traditionally has been,” Pawlenty said in his veto letter. “I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage.”

In other words, he opposes efforts to treat gays and lesbians like actual human beings. Because nothing protects traditional marriage better than making the most difficult time in a person’s life even bleaker for some homo.

But hey, gay bashing plays well to the GOP’s conservative base. Gay bashing dead gays? Even better — because that’s the way they like ’em.

D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world, she reviews rock ’n’ roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister.