Set aside politics for a moment, and enjoy the proposal story announced as the winner of a contest arranged by Minnesota for Marriage. The organization, in favor of the proposed marriage constitutional amendment, chose a winning entry from Jim and Dee of Bloomington that has me impressed for its high risk-reward level. Jim's description:
       At Yellow Lake, near Danbury, WI, on Memorial weekend 1995, I strung a
       heavy-duty leader onto my fishing line and one on my wife’s. We went fishing
       on a very windy night at about 9:30PM. I took the engagement ring when my
       wife wasn’t looking and clipped it through the leaders of both lines and had a
       sinker on one of the lines. I pretended to bait her hook and threw both lines
       (with the ring) out into the water. We had lighted bobbers, so when I pulled my
       line, I pulled hers with it and tried to pull her bobber under to get her to reel it in.

       I eventually told her she was snagged and to get her line into the boat. When
       she reeled in the line and got it to her, she first thought she snagged a ring
       from the water. And then she realized… I then bent down on my knee on the
       bottom of the boat and asked her to marry me! We celebrated her “YES”
       answer with a glass of champagne in the boat! At first she thought I was crazy
       for wanting to fish on that windy night, but later understood why!

The question I keep pondering: What if her hook snagged a weed and the line broke in the wrong place? Wouldn't the ring descend to the bottom of the lake? Or what if a fish was attracted to the glimmer of the ring and tried to eat it? A high-risk proposal strategy that worked out in the end ...

Now back to some politics -- or at least some statistics -- on marriage. The brand new 2011 data from the American Community Survey outlined some interesting household demographics in advance of the upcoming marriage amendment vote in November. Because of the survey's margin of error, these numbers are different than they were in past years but -- in most cases -- not enough to suggest a statistical trend in Minnesota.

Unmarried couples living together in Minnesota: 140,142 households in Minnesota involved unmarried male-female partners in 2011. This number is significantly higher than it was in surveys conducted four to five years earlier.

Same-sex couples living together: The 2011 ACS estimated 4,938 households in the state with unmarried male-male partners, and 7,286 households in the state with unmarried female-female partners. With numbers so small, the trend data from prior years is unreliable.

Marriage: Approximately 33,000 men and 33,000 women in Minnesota reported in the 2011 survey that they had gotten married in the last year.

Divorce: 15,500 men and 17,000 women in Minnesota reported in the 2011 survey that they had divorced in the last year. (The survey's margin of error explains this otherwise odd disparity.)

Marriage and divorce numbers have remained steady in the last couple of years, though they were markedly higher in 2008.

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MinneCensus: Family size and its relation to income in Minnesota ...