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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

With All Due Respect, Matt Birk, You're Wrong

Category: Gay Rights
Posted: 09/30/12 20:22, Edited: 09/30/12 20:24

by Dave Mindeman

Matt Birk's commentary in the Star Tribune regarding his decision to vote YES on the Marriage Discrimination Amendment is thoughtful and respectful. I think his beliefs in this regard are sincere...but he is still wrong about his conclusions.

Birk's work at pregnancy centers and underprivileged schools is exemplary and shows that he truly cares about kids. But I still do not understand why a Yes vote on this amendment has any bearing on his beliefs or his work.

He correctly points out that single parents have a tough time, but he also points out how many are heroically making it work and raising healthy, mentally prepared children.

But this idea that children have to have a "mom and a dad" is not quite the issue. What children need is a stable family home. That can be done with a heterosexual couple, a gay couple, or even a single parent with extended family help. The "mom and dad' rule is a traditional one, not a scientific one.

Numerous studies have shown that children brought up by gay couples have no differences in outcomes. None.

A 2005 news article on WebMD had this to say:

Researchers looked at information gleaned from 15 studies on more than 500 children, evaluating possible stigma, teasing and social isolation, adjustment and self-esteem, opposite gender role models, sexual orientation, and strengths.

Studies from 1981 to 1994, including 260 children reared by either heterosexual mothers or same-sex mothers after divorce, found no differences in intelligence, type or prevalence of psychiatric disorders, self-esteem, well-being, peer relationships, couple relationships, or parental stress.

Matt Birk thinks the argument boils down to this:

The union of a man and a woman is privileged and recognized by society as "marriage" for a reason, and it's not because the government has a vested interest in celebrating the love between two people. With good reason, government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids.

Birk is extrapolating reasons for marriage from a personal sense, not from a legal sense. Marriage contracts aren't some legal construct for nuturing kids -- marriage has become an established legal entity for contracts and establish rights for the parties involved. Kids are, if you will, an optional part of that contract. They come later...sometimes not at all. Making children the reason for marriage as a legal union is simply incorrect.

Birk does make one good point...

Marriage is in trouble right now -- admittedly, for many reasons that have little to do with same-sex unions.

And he brings up a political truism that, again, is not part of the marriage argument -- but a valid point. He states....

In the last few years, political forces and a culture of relativism have replaced "I am my brother's keeper" and "love your neighbor as yourself" with "live and let live" and "if it feels good, go ahead and do it."

That political force is oh so true in budgetary processes and our ideas on the poor and tax fairness. But how this would pertain to the amendment argument is dubious at best.

Birk tries to sum up his position in this manner:

Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children -- the next generation. Ideas have consequences, and laws shape culture. Marriage redefinition will affect the broader well-being of children and the welfare of society. As a Christian and a citizen, I am compelled to care about both.

Birk means well but never gives any kind of specific instance as to how same-sex unions would affect his children...or any other heterosexual couple with children. No evidence. No facts. No reasoning.

The bigger point is that we are not "redefining" marriage here. This amendment wouldn't change anything in current law -- only the Constitution. And if DOMA would eventually be overturned, we would simply be broadening the legal definition. The traditional definition is not changed...not affected.

Here is the real truth. Churches may object to same-sex marriages. They can continue that objection. Nobody is making them change anything and the rules they make that affect their own membership is their own business. Nobody is forcing them to change. But to change the Constitution of Minnesota, which guides everyone in the state -- Christians, non-Christians alike --that is simply wrong.

I respect Matt Birk's opinion; but it is HIS opinion. The State of Minnesota can't be ruled by opinions of a few --it needs to be the legal guide for everyone.
comments (2) permalink

57B Anna Wills - Endorsed by Liberty Caucus - The Paulites

Posted: 09/29/12 16:17, Edited: 04/24/13 15:28

by Dave Mindeman

Just another note about Senate District 57. On the 57B side, GOP candidate Anna Wills got another endorsement.,,,

#53 Anna Wills, 57B House
Anna signed the Liberty Compact. This is her first endorsement.

Her predecessor in the district was current GOP Senate Candidate Kurt Bills. He was, of course, endorsed by the "Liberty Caucus" as well. And as some of you already know, this group adheres to the Ron Paul wing of the Republican Party.

Kurt Bills has been promoting the Ron Paul wave of "ending the Fed" and back to the gold standard. Although the Liberty Caucus does not espouse these ideas on their website, Kurt Bills has given us a snapshot of where this would take us.

Other south metro liberty endorsees....Sen. Ted Daley (51), Rep. Doug Wardlow (51B), Rep Mary Liz Holberg (58A)....and now Anna Wills (57B).

Do these districts really want to go there again?
comments (1) permalink

GOP 57 Candidate Pat Hall Gets That Media Pass

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 09/29/12 12:50

by Dave Mindeman

Politics In Minnesota did a background piece on Senate District 57. The contest is an open seat due to the "retirement" of Chris Gerlach. The article made a brief mention of the background of Gerlach's retirement....namely, the "Right to Work" flyer paid for by an outside group but coming from Gerlach's printing firm. That raised the hackles of fellow Republican Senators that were targeted by the flyer...and rather than face the music, Gerlach bailed and set himself up for Dakota County Commissioner run.

The article talked in general terms about the two candidates - Greg Clausen for the DFL and Pat Hall for the GOP. It talked about Clausen's background as a principal at the local high schools. And about Hall's potential dynamics of being part of a Senate brother combo (Pat Hall is the brother of Dan Hall -Senator from Burnsville).

As background for Pat Hall, Mike Mullen wrote this:

The work reminds Hall of his day job, where, like his brother, he works as a Lutheran pastor. Five years ago, Hall started True Light Covenant Church, and found himself knocking on doors in south Minneapolis in an effort to draw a crowd. Today, Hall?s weekly sermons bring in 80 to 100 people, many of whom are low-income or recovering substance abusers.

Part of that is untrue. Pat Hall is no longer a Lutheran minister. True Light Covenant Church is an affiliate of the Evangelical Covenant Church of America. Their background?

The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) is an evangelical Christian denomination of more than 800 congregations and an average worship attendance of 178,000 people in the United States and Canada with ministries on five continents. Founded in 1885 by Swedish immigrants.....

The ECC is one of those splinter group denominations that has Lutheran roots but split off over one disagreement over another. Pat Hall used to be an ELCA pastor but after his tenure in Rosemount, he had to leave.

Now the local GOP is satisfied with Pat Hall...

......, local GOP chairman Pat Staley said Hall?s brand of compassionate conservative will register with the district, which Staley described as largely middle-income ?common sense conservatives,? with pockets of strongly conservative evangelical voters.

But when Pat Hall was being endorsed, Pat Staley had a curious statement about Pat Hall's past....

"No charges, either civil or criminal were ever filed."

That's (ahem) reassuring.

Now I find all of that troubling and worth a few more queries ...but then, that's just me I guess. It is disappointing that PIM didn't at least ask the question.
comments (2) permalink
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