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Minnesota Poll: 58% say they'd ban gay marriage

Mark Brunswick

Star Tribune

Published

 

A majority of Minnesota voters would vote to approve a constitutional amendment to define marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman. They are split, though, on whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed so-called "civil unions" to give them some of the legal rights of married couples.

 

A recent poll also found that a majority (53 percent) agreed that the state needs a constitutional amendment to make sure judges cannot strike down a current state law banning same-sex marriage. An alternative amendment under consideration in the Legislature would do that by removing the issue from courts' hands.

 

The latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll of likely voters finds that 58 percent said they would vote for a proposed amendment to the state's Constitution that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Thirty-five percent would oppose it.

 

In the wake of a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling last year that said gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, and with mayors performing same-sex marriage ceremonies in places such San Francisco, the question of what marriage means is being debated more and more in state capitols, on talk radio and at kitchen tables across the country. Civil rights, religious doctrine and presidential election-year politics have all been added to the mix.

 

While Minnesota law already prohibits same-sex marriage, the Minnesota House has passed a bill that would let voters decide in November whether the state's Constitution should be changed to ban it. A similar bill has failed in the Senate but a variation has been proposed that would take the definition of marriage out of the jurisdiction of the courts and leave it exclusively in the hands of the Legislature.

 

A judge's role

 

Richfield resident Bob Seeman can be counted among those who believe that judicial activism is a concern. Like 47 percent of those polled, Seeman, 36, is not opposed to the idea that gays and lesbian couples obtain some rights in civil unions. But he believes judges like those in Massachusetts have gone too far in dictating social convention.

 

"This country is going downhill when we have groups or individuals not abiding by the law of the land," Seeman said. "When people think they have a certain right and they're going to exploit the Constitution to approve their rights for their own personal gain, they can't always have it their way. There's proper channels of getting things done and they are not taking the proper channels."

 

Most of the poll respondents (57 percent) know someone who is gay or lesbian. More say that homosexuality is something that can't be changed (47 percent) than those say it's a choice (33 percent). Of those who think homosexuality is a choice, more than eight in 10 support an amendment banning same-sex marriage, while 58 percent of those who say it is something that cannot be changed would vote against it.

 

Those who describe themselves as "born-again Christians" widely support the amendment (77 percent).

 

St. Cloud truck driver Samuel Miller is adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Miller, 43, said his father and grandfather were both ministers and he believes that the Bible clearly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

 

"There is no doubt about it. There is no debate about that. That's the way it is. Nothing is going to change my mind," said Miller, who has a sister who is gay. Support for the amendment is stronger in areas outside the Twin Cities, where feelings are essentially split, according to the poll.

 

Rural Winona County farmer Simon Ellsworth, who describes himself as "damn independent," said he opposes a constitutional amendment because he believes religious leaders are trying to inject themselves in the state's business.

 

Religion's role

 

"You're dealing with religion and all the wars in the world, including the Middle East right now, are fighting over religion. It's the clergy that are trying to make an issue out of this," said Ellsworth, 66. "You're trying to dictate to the people what their religious beliefs should be."

 

Men, older people, and those with less education are more likely than other groups to say they would vote for the amendment. Conservatives and Republicans are more likely than other ideological or political groups to say they'd vote for it.

 

Nationally, people oppose gay marriage by more than 2 to 1, but when asked if they consider a constitutional amendment a top priority, they placed it 21st in a list of 22 issues. Almost half, 45 percent, said they strongly oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, according to a poll released in February by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

 

Both supporters and opponents of the constitutional amendment took portions of the Minnesota Poll results as favorable to their causes. But both sides agree that much education is still needed about the nuances of the issue.

 

Ann DeGroot, executive director of OutFront Minnesota, the state's leading gay-rights organization, is encouraged by how many people seem to support the concept of civil unions and can make the distinction between the religious and legal implications. "The concept of religious marriage is different than civil marriage. If we allow some civil recognition for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, that doesn't necessarily mean anything about the church, '" she said.

 

Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, the state's largest nonprofit organization that advocates for what it calls traditional family values, said the results related to judicial influence suggest that citizens feel a strong need to have a direct say in the matter.

 

"We just have to keep communicating the broader message that the people should be deciding this, not judges or politicians in some respects with back-room deals," Prichard said. "The whole impetus has been the judges; and the only way you can ultimately protect that is through a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman."

 

Mark Brunswick is at

 

mbrunswick@startribune.com

 

© Copyright 2004 Star Tribune. All rights reser

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>If civil rights issues were always put before the voters,

>we'd still have slavery in some states. This is so fucked

>up.

 

Yep - can't go having democracy when the results are the opposite of what you want. Democracy is only good when the majority is smart enough to vote the way you want. When they don't, democracy depends on overriding the decisions of the majority and imposing the laws that you want.

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>Ayatollah-thinking is alive and well in the U.S. of A., it

>seems. Like I said earlier, can someone pass that candy dish

>full of anti-depressants? x(

 

Is there gay marriage in Brazil? Is there abortion in Spain? Can gay people adopt children and get married in most European and South American countries? Has "Ayatollah-thinking" taken over every country which doesn't have gay marriage and abortion, or just the one that rejected you?

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>Yep - can't go having democracy when the results are the

>opposite of what you want. Democracy is only good when the

>majority is smart enough to vote the way you want. When they

>don't, democracy depends on overriding the decisions of the

>majority and imposing the laws that you want.

 

Hey Doug, why do we bother electing representatives to Congress? Shouldn't we just put every issue before the voters and let the majority rule?

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>Democracy is only good when the

>majority is smart enough to vote the way you want. When they

>don't, democracy depends on overriding the decisions of the

>majority and imposing the laws that you want.

 

I know you meant to be snide and sarcastic. But you couldn't possibly have better described the reason for a judicial branch that has helped keep this country the great place that has been and continues to be for the last 230ish years.

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>I know you meant to be snide and sarcastic. But you couldn't

>possibly have better described the reason for a judicial

>branch that has helped keep this country the great place that

>has been and continues to be for the last 230ish years.

 

You couldn't be more mistaken, but I'm glad you said this, because you expressed an extremely common misconception (at least among people of your ideological leanings).

 

The judicial branch does NOT have the authority, nor was it ever intended to have the authority, to strike down bad laws or even oppressive laws. Rather, it has the authority to strike down laws only under ONE circumstance: where the law violates a right guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution (or some other Constitutional restriction). If you give to the judicial branch the right to strike down not merely unconstitutional laws, but also laws which it thinks are "bad" or "unfair," then that is the definition of judicial tyranny. Fortunately, our system of government does not give that right to judges, even though they sometimes take it anyway.

 

So merely saying that a law is "bad" or "unfair to minorities" or even "oppressive" is most assuredly NOT a ground for the judicial branch to strike that law. If you want to override a majority decision, you have to point to a Constitutional provision which that law violates.

 

I don't think anyone can argue with a straight face that the U.S. Constitution, written and ratified in the 1770's, banned the practice of granting of marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples only.

 

So the fact that you don't like opposite-sex marriage only laws, or the fact that you think it's unfair, is not sufficient to enable you to block the majority from having the marriage laws that it wants. That what's distinguishes a democracy from tyranny.

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>Is there gay marriage in Brazil? Is there abortion in Spain?

>Can gay people adopt children and get married in most European

>and South American countries? Has "Ayatollah-thinking" taken

>over every country which doesn't have gay marriage and

>abortion, or just the one that rejected you?

 

Overdosing on the ipecac again, Dougie?

 

There isn't gay marriage yet in Brazil, but there IS proposed legislation in the Brazilian Congress to legalize gay marriage and I think it's likely to happen. The Brazilian courts in the past few years have been extending rights of marriage to same-sex couples (like inheritance rights, rights to pensions and health-care coverage, rights to sponsor same-sex partners for immigration, and rights of custody of the children of deceased same-sex partners). There's opposition to this, of course, from the church (at least the RC hierarchy and the evangelicals) but it hasn't reached anything resembling the fever pitch of hysteria seen in the U.S., and nobody makes the ridiculous argument that legalizing same-sex marriage will somehow destroy the existing institution of marriage. As for adoption, I'm not absolutely sure, but I don't think there's a prohibition here on gays (or singles) adopting in Brazil. Brazilian law looks at what's best for the child, and being in an orphanage or foster care certainly isn't as good for a child as being in an established family relationship with someone.

 

In Argentina, where the Church is still established and the hierarchy is extremely conservative, the city of Buenos Aires recently enacted domestic partnership registrations and its likely that some recognition of same-sex relationships will be extended nationally.

 

I don't know for sure if abortion is allowed in Spain, but I think it is permitted under restrictive circumstances which the new Socialist government intends to liberalize. Parts of Spain already recognize domestic partnerships and the new government has said it is in favor of extending marriage to same-sex couples. And in the rest of Europe, same-sex couples can get married in some countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) and in others they can enter into civil union arrangements that confer most of the legal rights of marriage. So that puts those countries way ahead of the U.S. in that regard.

 

I don't know what the adoption rules are in all European countries, so I can't answer your question. At least some countries in Europe allow adoptions by gays, though. Not all American states do. So your point is. . .?

 

And what exactly is the over all point you're trying to make? Beyond revealing to the world your ignorance of what's going on in the world beyond your trailer park's borders?

 

As for being "rejected" by my homeland, I still get a red-carpet welcome from my family and friends when I return to the U.S. Quite unlike how your trailer park neighbors in exurban Lynchburg (or is it Wheeling?) are likely to react if they find out about your proclivities, and the kinds of websites you post on! }(

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RE: Dougie's Losing It. . .

 

But PLEASE go on with your ranting; it's really showing everybody what an utter ignoramus you are. Like your not knowing that the Constitution you claim to worship was only adopted in 1789 (the U.S. didn't even declare independence until 1776 and then operated under Articles of Confederation for most of a decade before it became clear that they were unworkable).

 

And the reason courts rule on questions involving fairness between groups is because the Constitution in fact contains provisions about equal treatment under the law, so many unfair practices do, in fact, violate the Constitution. That's pretty basic stuff, Dougie. You don't need to be a Consitutional scholar to know that. And as for what the framers thought, it's clear that they understood they couldn't foresee all situations in the future. That's why they wrote the Consitution in broad and universal terms, in the hope that its essential principles would hold true down the generations. And they were correct, by and large. That's why the U.S. Constitution has survived pretty much intact for more than two centuries, when other countries, which turned their Consitutions into explicit codes of law, found themselves obliged to junk them and start over (in some cases many times over).

 

It's the ability of the U.S. courts to apply the principles of the Constitution (and the thinking of the founders) to fact situations that could not have been foreseen in 1789 that makes it a living document and one of the real glories of the United States. It's just a shame there are so many Americans like you, who don't appreciate the genius of the Consitution and want to lay a dead hand on it so that it becomes petrified. ;(

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RE: Dougie's Losing It. . .

 

>And the reason courts rule on questions involving fairness

>between groups is because the Constitution in fact contains

>provisions about equal treatment under the law, so many unfair

>practices do, in fact, violate the Constitution. That's

>pretty basic stuff, Dougie. You don't need to be a

>Consitutional scholar to know that.

 

Courts have repeatedly said that this is NOT what the Equal Protection Clause is - some general guarantee of fairness. In fact, unequal treatment is PERMITTED under long-standing Equal Protection doctrine as long as there is a rational basis for the unequal treatment. Courts have repeatedly stated that the "rational basis" test is very lenient and easy to meet in order to uphold a challenged law.

 

Unequal treatment even based on constitutionally protected factors (such as race, gender, religion - but NOT sexual orientation) is also permitted if there is a compelling or legitimate governmental interest which justifies the unequal treatment. As a result, challenging a general law (i.e. one that does not implicate protected characteristics) is extremely difficult, precisely because - contrary to your babbling - courts have repeatedly said that the Equal Protection Clause CANNOT be used to strike laws which are merely "unfair."

 

Whenever someone says that you can understand something without having to be a "scholar" or an "expert" in it, it usually means that they have no idea what the fuck they're talking about and have not studied the topic at all, but nonetheless think that they can pontifficate about it anyway.

 

And as for what the

>framers thought, it's clear that they understood they couldn't

>foresee all situations in the future. That's why they wrote

>the Consitution in broad and universal terms, in the hope that

>its essential principles would hold true down the generations.

 

Really? Did the authors of the Constitution say this? Or is this just you fantasizing about what they said?

 

>It's the ability of the U.S. courts to apply the principles of

>the Constitution (and the thinking of the founders) to fact

>situations that could not have been foreseen in 1789 that

>makes it a living document and one of the real glories of the

>United States. It's just a shame there are so many Americans

>like you, who don't appreciate the genius of the Consitution

>and want to lay a dead hand on it so that it becomes

>petrified. ;(

 

How ironic that, here you are, giving lectures on how people don't appreciate the beauty and importance of judicial nullification - when, at the same time, you believe that the U.S. Supreme Court staged a "judicial coup d'etat" in Bush v. Gore, which was based primiarly on the Equal Protection Clause. I've never heard anyone attack the judicial branch with accusations as virulent and histrionic as the ones you make. You actually think that we are living in a judicially-imposed dictatorship. Who are you to give lectures to others on the evils of insufficient appreciation of the role which judges play in our democracy? You're the one who accuses that branch of staging a coup.

 

What you obviously mean is that you appreciate judicial action ONLY when it strikes laws that you dislike, but you hate and fear it and think it's tryannical when it strikes laws that you like. Thinking that way is not a political view; it is, like most of what you say, a manifestation of psychological illness.

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>Overdosing on the ipecac again, Dougie?

 

Do you think there's anybody at this point who actually finds Internet Insult cliches like this to be amusing or interesting?

 

>There isn't gay marriage yet in Brazil, . . ..

 

Then I guess it's a fascist country where Ayatollah-thinking has taken over.

 

but there IS proposed

>legislation in the Brazilian Congress to legalize gay marriage . . .

 

Such legislation exists in the United States, too, and some courts have mandated it. Has that happened in Brazil? Look at how much more "progressive" the U.S. is.

 

The Brazilian courts in

>the past few years have been extending rights of marriage to

>same-sex couples (like inheritance rights, rights to pensions

>and health-care coverage, rights to sponsor same-sex partners

>for immigration, and rights of custody of the children of

>deceased same-sex partners).

 

So have U.S. courts. U.S. Courts have gone further and madated same-sex marriage and/or the fullly equivalent civil unions. How weird that the most Christian Fascist Theocracy on Earth - which is on the verge of building concentration campes for gay people - would do that.

 

As for

>adoption, I'm not absolutely sure, but I don't think there's a

>prohibition here on gays (or singles) adopting in Brazil.

 

There is in Spain. Spain prohibits gay people from adopting. It also prohibits abortions of all kinds, other than in cases of rape and incest. How come you're not ranting about the Ayatollah-thinking taking over in Spain? Why are those childish, hysterical accusations confined to the U.S.?

 

>In Argentina, where the Church is still established and the

>hierarchy is extremely conservative, the city of Buenos Aires

>recently enacted domestic partnership registrations and its

>likely that some recognition of same-sex relationships will be

>extended nationally.

 

But that country doesn't allow gay people to marry. Doesn't that make it a fascist Christian theocracy?

 

>And what exactly is the over all point you're trying to make?

 

That you scream DICTATORSHIP when talking about the United States, and bow down and praise foreign countries as being vanguards of liberty, even though, with regard to most issues that you cite, the U.S. provides more liberty than those other countries. That demonstrates that what you are always spewing here is about your hatred for the United States, and nothing about reality.

 

>As for being "rejected" by my homeland, I still get a

>red-carpet welcome from my family and friends when I return to

>the U.S.

 

I'm not talking about whether your mommy and daddy like you. I'm talking about the fact that you achieved nothing but mediocrity here, living off the government pension, the whole sad spectacle of your life. You're angry and feel like a failure. Rather than blame yourself, you blame this country, and hate it with all your passion.

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RE: Dougie's Losing It. . .

 

>Courts have repeatedly said that this is NOT what the Equal

>Protection Clause is - some general guarantee of fairness. In

>fact, unequal treatment is PERMITTED under long-standing Equal

>Protection doctrine as long as there is a rational basis for

>the unequal treatment. Courts have repeatedly stated that the

>"rational basis" test is very lenient and easy to meet in

>order to uphold a challenged law.

 

For those of us who ain’t no scholars…what does the Equal Protection Clause guarantee? I’m just trying to understand this point since the name itself seems to imply fairness.

 

What’s an example of unequal treatment that is permitted by the Equal Protection Clause? It seems like an oxymoron. Something like not allowing people with certain disabilities to drive because of the hazard they create?

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Guest ncm2169

There's a chance that the Senate, controlled by the Democrats, will keep it off the ballot. The primary policy committee has already voted it down, but proponents will try to force a floor vote. It will be very close.

 

The main sponsor is THE MOST sanctimonious cunt I have encountered in decades, if not ever. Worse yet, she's my State Senator. x( x( x( x( x( x( x( x( x( x(

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Doug you're clearly not usually a dumb ass why do you have to pretend to be one so often..... passing unconstitutional laws is exactly what people who are too dumb to vote properly do. It's what happens when representatives who have no clue what the constitution is all about do sometimes and it's the kind of laws that people who go with the whims of the majority will do with no regard for the constitution.

 

I really don't believe you missed this point. I do appreciate a good debate but pretending to have the IQ of a gnat and not appreciating that violating the constitution is precisely the danger that I was talking about gets everyone nowhere.

 

Your nonsensical rantings aside, I too am glad I said what I did. The dimwitted laws that are sometimes passed (which violate the constitution for all of you pretending to be obtuse - Doug) are precisely why the judicial branch exists.

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RE: Dougie's Losing It. . .

 

>For those of us who ain’t no scholars…what does the Equal

>Protection Clause guarantee? I’m just trying to understand

>this point since the name itself seems to imply fairness.

 

WARNING: BLUENIX - Skip this post. Trust me

 

As a general proposition, the Equal Protection Clause guarantees equal treatment under the law where there is no rational reason for unequal treatment. Where the inequality is based on certain classifications (such as race, gender, religion, etc.), then a higher standard is imposed - namely, the unequal treatment is permissible only if it serves a compelling governmental interest (in the case of race and religion) or a legitimate governmental interest (in the case of gender).

 

If you think about it, almost every law treats people unequally. Driving laws say that citizens over 16 can drive, but citizens under 16 cannot. Clearly, citizens over 16 are treated differently under this law than those under 16.

 

In some neighborhoods, having some business activity is allowed by municipal zoning laws, whereas that same activity is banned two streets over. Clearly, citizens in one neighborhood are treated differently under this zoning law than those in a different neighborhood.

 

In many states, any citizen over 18 can vote, but prisoners convicted of a felony can't. Clearly, non-prisoner citizens are treated differently under these voting laws than prisoners.

 

People who make a lot of money pay a higher percentage of their taxes to the Government than people who make less money. Clearly, those who earn above $200,000 are treated differently under this tax law than those who make $20,000.

 

No government can possibly treat every single exactly the same in every case. That's why courts have applied the Equal Protection Clause to mean that unequal treatment is unconstitutional only where there is no rational basis for the unequal treatment. In each of the cases I cited, there is obviously a rational reason for the different treatment (even if it may not be a good reason). It is not a difficult test to meet. Most laws treat citizens unequally, and doing so is perfectly consistent with the E.P. clause as long as there is some rational reason - any rational reason - for the inequality.

 

For laws which treat citizens unequally based on "suspect classes" - classes which have traditionally been the source of prejudice or bias (which includes religion, race, gender, etc. but NOT sexual orientation) -- such as, say, rules banning women from combat -- a higher standard is imposed. For such laws, it's not enough for there to be a rational basis for the inequality, but instead, it must be demonstrated that there is a compelling or legitimate state interests which the law fulfills (and that no equal treatment can satisfy) in order for it to be constitutional.

 

I'm not saying this is fascinating, but you did ask, and the amount of misinformation spewed about this clasue always invites clarification. The crucial point is that, contrary to what most people think when they want the court to strike down laws they don't like, the Equal Protection Clause does not ban "unfair" laws or even "oppressive laws." Instead, most laws which treat people unequally have been found constitutional under this clause, precisely for the reason I said.

 

Thus, in order to demonstrate that opposite-sex-only marriage laws violate the Equal Protection Clause, it would have to be demonstrated that no rational reason of any kind exists for these laws. They don't have to be good reasons, or even persuasive reasons - just reasons that a rational person could embrace.

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RE: Dougie's Losing It. . .

 

>I'm not saying this is fascinating, but you did ask

 

Not fascinating…but interesting. I did ask and thanks for responding. I won’t be surprised if some of the other Legal Eagles chime in with a different interpretation -- because that’s what you lawyer types do.

 

>They don't have to be good reasons, or even

>persuasive reasons - just reasons that a rational person could

>embrace.

 

A ‘rational’ person. That’s the gotcha that leaves room for interpretation and changing opinion. What constitutes a rational person will change over time. I’m sure it was once considered rational for a white person to object to sharing a public restroom with a black person. Don’t you think there could come a time where the court decides no rational person could embrace hetero-only marriage laws?

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RE: Dougie's Losing It. . .

 

>I’m sure it was

>once considered rational for a white person to object to

>sharing a public restroom with a black person. Don’t you

>think there could come a time where the court decides no

>rational person could embrace hetero-only marriage laws?

 

 

I'm sure it may happen some day.. then it will become "traditional" to grant same sex marriages. And it can join Doug's other "traditional" classes : "classes which have traditionally been the source of prejudice or bias (which includes religion, race, gender, etc. but NOT sexual orientation)" All of which have DEEP traditional roots going all the way back to ooooh the 1960's

 

Gio in Denver

 

"Never Argue with a Fool---Those around you may not notice the Difference"

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