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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

End of Life Rights. Pass the Bill!

Category: Gay Rights
Posted: 01/07/10 19:36, Edited: 01/07/10 19:38

by Dave Mindeman

When somebody dies, the next of kin is notified. It is standard procedure and the final arrangements are often handled by the ones who are notified. But is everyone with a vested interest really notified?

What if your parents had both died. What if you hadn't talked to your brother or sister in 20 years. And then add the fact that you are gay and have been living with your partner for the last 15 years of your life. Who should be notified? Who should handle the last requests?

I would hope that the answer would be the person who has been the closest to the deceased for the most relevant time up to the final moments. The person who has had the most significant relationship. The person's life partner.

Yet, that is not necessarily what will happen. No matter how much legal protection gay couples try to document, their rights are NOT protected.

Minnesota can correct this....

Advocates for same-sex couples say Minnesota needs a law that protects the rights of surviving members of domestic partnerships to make those decisions. A 2009 bill that would have done so did not pass before the legislative session ended, but advocates hope state lawmakers will support it when they return to the capitol next month.

At the very least, this state should go on the record with this most basic of individual rights. The final wishes of any person should be honored and without clear legal definitions, that right can be negated by strangers with their own personal bias.

It is time to put our legislators on the record. I don't care if there is an ugly veto pen looming upon passage. Put "Godfather" Pawlenty on the record as well.

This is basic. This is an individual gut check right.

Don't let legislators wimp out because of any controversy.

Take a stand. Pass this bill. Let Minnesota stand for the rights of all.

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Kersten Confuses Definition of Marriage with Family

Category: Gay Rights
Posted: 11/08/09 11:37

by Dave Mindeman

Katherin Kersten writes a very informative column. She is helping me understand why so many people are afraid of gay marriage. Or at least she is helping me understand why people interpret their feelings as fear.

One thing is for certain, Katherine Kersten must live life on an incline wearing roller skates because everything is a "slippery slope". It is uncanny how she correlates her slanted viewpoint as the clarion call for the destruction of everyone's moral values.

This week's column is back on her favorite topic --gay marriage. The first thing she does is make up her definition of marriage.

Marriage is a universal human institution. Across the world and throughout history, it's been exclusively male-female. That's not because of antigay bigotry, but because marriage is anchored in a primal biological and social fact: Sex between men and women creates new human beings.

Actually, the legal term of marriage is really a product of the mid-19th century. Licenses were required to make sure people didn't bond themselves in the unnatural act of a mixed-race marriage. (So you see, marriage licensing was spawned in bigotry). Prior to that, people would generally make an announcement, get the permission of the families, and head to the church.

But I don't believe there is any legal qualification that a marriage must be about biology. When children are involved, its not about marriage...its about family. You actually don't have to have a license to be a family. Families know they are families. Whether it is a couple with 13 kids, a single parent with one child, a married couple who can't have children, or a gay couple living alone or with adopted children.... they are all families. No licenses but no questions about what they are either.

Kersten mixes that all up in her definition of marriage. She has decided that the purpose of marriage is child rearing....

The primary purpose of marriage is to ensure the best environment for rearing the children born of male-female sexual acts. Marriage channels men's and women's sexual attraction into productive ends, and harnesses the male sex drive by binding men to the mothers of their children.

Again, Kersten mixes up marriage with family. The real purpose of a marriage is to vow a committment to a monogamous relationship. You are committing yourself to one person, till death do you part. Children can be a product of that relationship, but again, that is not about the marriage, that is about the family. A marriage license that defines this monogamous relationship can apply to bi-racial couples (which we now generally accept) or it can apply to committed gay couples (which we are still working on). A monogamous sexual relationship doesn't have to come to "productive ends". Many heterosexual couples live their entire lives without having children -- are they any less married?

But Kersten makes another accusation....

Same-sex marriage may not change the lives of John and Mary. But their children and grandchildren will bear the brunt of this cultural revolution. Today, only 59 percent of children live with their married biological or adoptive mother and father -- a result of divorce, cohabitation and rising out-of-wedlock births. If same-sex marriage prevails, the marriage culture is likely to erode further.

I'm trying to follow the logic here. Kersten is concerned that only 59% of children live with their married parents. So if we legalize same-sex marriages, which cannot biologically reproduce but could give a loving adoptive home, we are eroding that furthur? How?

But Kersten isn't done yet. Next she blames gay couples (whom she forbids the right to marry) for a laissez-faire attitude about marriage in general.

In European countries and American states where same-sex marriage is legal, the proportion of gays choosing to marry is well below that of the heterosexual population. In America, about two-thirds of gay couples who seek legal recognition are lesbians. The larger society does not expect or pressure gay people to marry -- for them, it's just a matter of personal preference.

And her reasoning gets weirder....

Over time, this attitude could reshape the larger institution of marriage. As social norms that have encouraged men and women to take on the hard work of raising a family unravel, heterosexual couples are less likely to see marriage as important or relevant. Increasingly, marriage is likely to become just one of many options in a lifestyle smorgasbord.

So let's break this down. If we give gay couples the right to legally marry, their cavalier maybe-maybe not attitude about it will furthur erode the marriage institution. Therefore, apparently, we must keep denying them that right so that can't choose to ignore its use.


Katherine Kersten is an expert in her own mind. None of the things she expounds upon as "factual" have any studies or textbook backing to them. They are just her own personal opinions.

Just like our recent ancestral counterparts feared the complete degradation of society when we opened the doors to bi-racial marriage, Kersten justifies a deep seeded personal bigotry as the reason to defend a societal bias against GLBT relationships.

We simply have to be better than this.

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