Pro/con commentaries generate responses
As a supporter of same-sex marriage, I actually think Dan Olson's wilderness analogy ("The debate over marriage: Two more layers," Aug. 24) is an accurate one for his traditional views of marriage. Many of us like to visit the BWCA to escape the fast-paced environment of modern life and enjoy the simple pleasures of nature; just as many of us like to take a nostalgic look back 50 years and long for times when everything seemed simpler in life. However, few of us would actually want to live in the BWCA and experience the realities of life prior to modern technology. While the appeal of the untouched wilderness is obvious, nearly all of us agree that the conveniences of modern technology ultimately outweigh the downsides.
Just the same, while many of us see the appeal of simpler times decades ago, few of us really want to live with all of the downsides that came along with the cultural mores that were necessary to uphold these traditional views of marriage and sexuality: intolerance of gays, individuals trapped in marital hell, and a complete lack of sexual and reproductive freedom. In our modern society, places such as the BWCA are reserved for fun summer getaways, just as these 1950s views of marriage and sexuality should be reserved for our nostalgic trips.
MATT BRIOL, MINNEAPOLIS
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Olson's comparison is novel, but deeply flawed. I would remind him that anyone can apply for entrance into the Boundary Waters. If he and his Defense of Marriage allies have their way, only people they approve of will be allowed to apply for entrance into civil marriage.
CHRIS TODD, WAYZATA
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Mark Osler is correct in his Aug. 24 commentary that the purpose of a constitution is not to limit freedom of the individual but rather to set the framework in which government is allowed to operate. However, his point that the founders did not include a ban on mixed-race marriages because it would be better addressed by statute falls short.
Marriage is a personal choice and defined by one's creator. As it is ordained by the dogma of the creator, we as a society unjustly banter it around. We even have allowed it to creep into our tax code, our wealth transfer, our health care decisionmaking process and other aspects of public life. But marriage is not an institution for which government involvement is required, and that is why the wise founding fathers did not mention it in the U.S. Constitution.
We are all free people who have the ability to choose whom we share our lives with. It is not the responsibility of a conservative or liberal or of the government to dictate that which my or your creator has defined. Just remember that a "no" vote on the marriage amendment is not a "yes" vote for same-sex marriage; rather, a "no" vote is a vote to remove government from the marriage equation and to put back into the equation one's creator.
CHRIS LUND, HAMBURG
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Writer painted GOP with a broad brush
Although U.S. Rep. Todd Akin's comments about rape were instantly repudiated by Republican Party leaders, Jeffrey Kolnick accuses them of caucusing "with crazy folk" like Akin ("GOP must slip its ugly skin," Aug. 23). Having tarred the Republicans with the Akin brush, Kolnick uses it to paint a dismal picture of their other offenses against liberal orthodoxy.
He no doubt will be watching Bill Clinton with unalloyed admiration as he delivers the keynote speech at the Democratic Party convention. Using Kolnick's logic, it could be said that Clinton's selection as his party's keynote speaker reflects its approval of his treatment of women, his impeachment for perjury while in office, and his leadership of the most scandal-ridden administration in the country's history.
PETER D. ABARBANEL, APPLE VALLEY
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While Ramesh Ponnuru ("Our mutual indignation society," Aug. 22) rightly points out some of the hypocrisy that we on the left display when talking about those on the right, he fails to address a fundamental difference between the sides. The current misogyny, homophobia and anti-Muslim views of the far right are no less immoral than racism and antisemitism. Such hatred does not deserve respect, and we, as a society, have a duty not to tolerate it.
EMILY K. JOHNSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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On voting amendment, urban landlords ...
Regarding the Aug. 23 letter wondering how a voter ID requirement would have affected a younger version of the writer: People on active military duty will need to be accommodated. Everyone else who has a driver's license however, has 30 days to notify the state of a change in address, so your license really should reflect where you live.
ARCHIE DUCHARME, ROSEVILLE
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Regarding the Aug. 23 Letter of the Day about "slumlords": Many landlords won't rent to a prospect who has a criminal record, has been evicted, has a bunch of unruly kids, has no job, etc. Where does the letter writer want these people to live? Chicago?
RHONDA KUEHL, MINNEAPOLIS