Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty isn't seeking reelection. He is seeking the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination. So he'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.
This is why Pawlenty announced his plan to veto a bill providing same-sex couples with the same end-of-life rights as married heterosexual couples.
It's not a gay marriage bill. It's not even a civil unions bill. It directly addresses specific legal inequities without making religious people feel too "gross" about men kissing each other or stealing the word "marriage" or whatever. Only a tremendous asshole would veto this bill.
Pawlenty says he'll veto the bill because "there is no actual need for this," and he says signing this bill extending civil rights without harming anyone would simply "stoke up a political controversy on a hot-button issue."
So he has no substantive reason for vetoing it. He just thinks it's not necessary (it is -- wills don't give surviving partners the right to sue for wrongful death, for example) and that it will be controversial. And it would be controversial solely because coldblooded pricks like Tim Pawlenty find opposing the extension of equal rights to gay people to be a really easy way to make bigots send you money, so you can run for president.
(Out in Iowa, the vast cornfield to the south of Minnesota, actual gay marriage has been legal for a year and society has not even collapsed a little bit.)