My heart swells with gratitude for the state of Minnesota, and for its leaders, especially: Legislators John Marty, Scott Dibble, Linda Higgins, Mee Moua and Patricia Torres Ray, and Gov. Mark Dayton. Why? Because on Aug. 1, 2013, I was given the right to legally marry my wife.

As countless straight couples have experienced for centuries, marriage brings a feeling of security and strength to a relationship like nothing else. The feeling of validation and empowerment that we, our children and hundreds of others have received has been immeasurable. To feel supported by our home state is such a wonderful feeling. When we travel outside Minnesota, we truly feel a loss for that recognition and a little out of place. When we cross back over the state line, we look at each other, smile and exclaim: “We’re married again!”

This action also has touched our community and young people. I am a high school teacher and had the joy of witnessing how the bill’s passage, almost immediately, brought increased acceptance and, more surprisingly, a feeling of contentment or relief toward this issue. No longer do kids feel like they need to choose a side or try to validate their sexuality. Our state has done this for them! This seems to be the case in school as well as in the general community.

How amazing! Thank you to all who fought to make my life and love complete!

Martha Pedina, Brooklyn Center

LAWSUITS

Americans believe in the justice system

What do the end of the Jesse Ventura lawsuit and the beginning of a possible lawsuit against President Obama by House Republicans have in common? They demonstrate how all Americans, of all political persuasions, love to sue and, implicitly, how they trust the legal system. This unites us as a people and makes us different from any other nationality.

Ventura was one of the more prominent members of the Independence Party, a known libertarian who apparently believes that the federal government has been involved in some secret conspiracies but who trusted the federal court system to find the truth in his legal action, and won.

Conservative Republicans, although slightly more likely to advocate for tort reform, had a recent success in the Hobby Lobby case and are now returning to the courts to file a lawsuit against the president.

Liberals and Democrats have a long history of seeking justice in the court system in the area of civil rights and, more recently, same-sex marriage.

In no other country do the citizens have such an innate belief that the system will fairly hear their grievances and such confidence that it will vindicate their position (although the latter probably happens less than half the time). I think it is wonderful.

V. John Ella, Robbinsdale

 

POLICE OFFICER KILLED

A harsh reminder of the job’s daily peril

It’s sadly ironic that within the same period police in one city are singled out by community members alleging brutality (“Mpls. cases get spotlight,” July 30), a police officer in another nearby community loses his life in the line of duty (“Suspect in officer’s slaying is shot,” July 31). These sorts of incidents bookend the challenges and the sacrifices of law enforcement in today’s society. I offer no position on the veracity of the allegations in Minneapolis, and I hope they are unfounded, but let us not forget that the same police officer who ticketed or even arrested you one minute may in the very next moment lose his or her life just for wearing a badge.

Mike McGee, Maple Grove

• • •

Serious questions regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall police response are prompted by the tragic death of Mendota Heights officer Scott Patrick:

What online computer information was available to Patrick at the time of the initial traffic stop? What information did he report before exiting his vehicle? What procedures should be in place to avoid a similar occurrence?

How many shots were taken at the suspect’s auto while the occupants were unidentified? Why was no safety consideration given to the unidentified woman passenger? How many shots missed the auto and struck unintended objects?

What justification did police have to terrorize the suspect’s grandmother in her own home when there was no indication the suspect was present? How were her rights protected or violated?

A driver of a vehicle similar to the suspect’s was filmed being forcefully dragged from his auto and roughly treated by multiple officers. Was this an overreaction by police to Patrick’s death?

Support for the police and shared sorrow for Patrick cannot justify irresponsible actions by our protectors. Further clarifications must be provided.

Mike Gerkin, Apple Valley

• • •

So you think it’s easy being a police officer? Take a step back and look at the news. An officer, just doing his job, shot in the head and killed. Why? A “routine” traffic stop, and now he is dead. What did he do wrong?

Talk about hate. Officers are hated just because they wear a uniform, just because they wear a badge.

Why do you think an officer kisses family members every day before work? It just might be the last day the family members see their loved ones. Officers live this every single day. So do their families.

Why do officers flock to a line-of-duty funeral? We show our support to the family and agency. One death affects us all. It could be us the next time.

My thoughts and prayers to the family of the officer who was slain in cold blood, as well as to the members of the Mendota Heights Police Department. It will be hard to carry on, but we know the thin blue line will fill in the spot now missing. Rest in peace, brother. We will carry on from here.

Renee Meuwissen, Corcoran

 

The writer is a police officer.

 

ARCHBISHOP

He gives himself a very low bar to clear

So Archbishop John Nienstedt believes that church leaders here don’t have to step down (or presumably be removed) until their effectiveness reaches “nil” (“Nienstedt declares he won’t step down,” July 31). That’s a pretty low standard, but it does explain some of the archdiocese’s problems.

This Catholic does not see how much “better” things are today.

Barb Bloom, Apple Valley

• • •

Star Tribune to Nienstedt: “Step down!” Nienstedt to Star Tribune: “Pfffft!”

Bob Huge, Edina