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Location: MInneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am now a simple Grandpa who's life is made richer as each grandchild is born. My wife and I have raised five children and the 30 year love labor of raising them has begun to yield sweet fruit..... And then there are fruits of 30 years in ministry ... I am a satisfied old man full of the joy of the Lord.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Marriage Amendment

I, like a good citizen, have contacted all of my political servants (politicians) about gaining a Minnesota Marriage Amendment. I have heard back from about 6 or 7 politicians. One of the most interesting responses was from Phyllis Kahn. Here is what she had to say in a personal e-mail. (But I caught her personally on the phone and she was almost rude and far from as diplomatic as this letter. Her answer was the equivalent of "no way and never")

April 18, 2005

Thank you for contacting me in support of HF 6, which proposes a
constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. I appreciate you
alerting me to your concern.

As you know, some of my legislative colleagues have proposed a
constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in response to court
decisions in other states permitting such unions (HF 6). Apparently,
they are concerned that gay couples from Minnesota will go to those
other states to marry, then return to Minnesota to challenge our state
laws, which ban same-sex unions.

Those laws were passed in 1997. Minnesota Statutes section 517.01
specifies that in order for a marriage to be lawfully valid in the state
of Minnesota, the marriage may only be contracted between persons of the
opposite sex. In addition, Minnesota Statutes section 517.03 prohibits
marriage between persons of the same sex and specifies that a
"marriage entered into by persons of the same sex, either under
common law or statute, that is recognized by another state or foreign
jurisdiction is void in this state and contractual rights granted by
virtue of the marriage or its termination are unenforceable in this

Constitutional amendment proponents worry, however, that the Minnesota
courts will overturn these statutes--hence, the proposed constitutional

HF 6 passed the House of Representatives on March 31. However, I did
not vote in favor of it. First, I do not believe we should enshrine
discrimination in our constitution and second, I do not believe such an
amendment is necessary. Even Governor Pawlenty, a constitutional
amendment supporter, has acknowledged that he believes Minnesota's
current laws banning same-sex marriage "will repel any legal
challenges here." Consequently, it is simply redundant and
unnecessary to adopt such a proposal. Current law more than adequately
addresses the issue.

Even if a court were to overturn these statutes, the legislature could
debate the issue at that time. Nothing is lost by delaying action.

Further, there is no reason to take up this constitutional amendment
this session since the measure can't even go on the ballot until the
2006 general election. This is due to a provision in the Minnesota
Constitution (Article 9, section 1). Minnesota's constitution provides
that the Legislature can submit a proposed constitutional amendment "to
the people for their approval or rejection at a general election
(emphasis added). The next statewide general election won't be held
until November of 2006. Many people believe, myself included, that
there is no point in debating constitutional amendments this year when
the voters can't even act upon them until next year.

I believe our limited time this year would be better spent focusing on
the issues of concern to all Minnesotans: education, health care, job
creation, etc. We have an enormous budget deficit that must be dealt
with. That should be our priority.

It is also important to know that the proposed constitutional amendment
goes beyond banning same-sex marriages. It also bans their "legal
equivalent." This is significant because it effectively bans any form
of civil unions, including domestic partnerships. This ban on "legal
equivalents" is written so broadly that it puts hundreds of Minnesota
businesses at risk of being sued for providing certain employment
benefits to gay people, such as time off to attend the funeral of a
partner. I believe most Minnesotans have no objections to these
domestic partner benefits. At a time when we need to help businesses
create jobs, we shouldn't be burdening businesses with the costs of
expensive litigation to defend reasonable corporate policies. Hundreds
of Minnesota companies provide such benefits and Minnesotans don't
object to them doing so.

I am also puzzled by people who think their marriage is threatened by a
stable loving relationship of two other people.

Even President Bush, a supporter of banning gay marriage, supports
civil unions. It is speculated that because Vice President Dick
Cheney's daughter is a lesbian, the President will not oppose
legally recognizing civil partnerships.

Obviously, sometimes there are issues of disagreement. A
constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is one of them.
Although I respect your views and appreciate knowing your opinion on
this issue, I do not believe that Minnesota should move forward with
this proposal.

Despite our difference of opinion, I hope you will continue to advise
me on issues that are important to you. It is only with the input of
people like you that I am able to effectively represent our district,
which is why I value your comments.

Again, thank you for contacting me.


Phyllis Kahn
State Representative
Supporting a Marriage Amendment in no way excludes civil unions. They will simply just not be recognized as "marriage." But that makes little difference to those who want to live their lives and make their choices with impunity. They don't just want equality, they want our blessing. Her letter is an attempt to make me feel that I am out of step with Minnesotans. She does not have a clue that the clock is ticking. Can anybody say "mainstrain America?"


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