Debating the impact of the court’s decision

I am a person who “abhors” Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions on same-sex couples’ constitutional rights (“To those who dislike these results: Are you truly harmed?” Letter of the Day, June 27). It represents the degree to which we have fallen as a society.

Everyone is affected by how each one of us chooses to live. Some same-sex couples want to have children. This cannot happen naturally. Same-sex couples cannot bring forth new life. The fruit of their sexual acts is death, not life. Bringing forth new life is a fundamental act of marriage and the way we continue as a society.

Marriage and its benefits are not the correct place for same-sex unions. This sanctioning of same-sex unions as marriage will bring confusion and disorder to all areas of functioning in our society. Time will tell.


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As a religious issue, gay marriage obviously offends some people. Like it or not, however, the very first words in the very first sentence of the very first article in the Bill of Rights ensures that no religion gets to write our laws — the people decide. We are a secular nation, and if Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and others prefer a theocracy, they are free to move to one.

As a social issue, opponents’ arguments fail to hold water. Gay people are no more or less law-abiding or contributing than anyone else. And for the life of me I can’t figure out how gay marriage affects my marriage or any other heterosexual marriage.

This issue is fundamentally a civil-rights issue, and the court got it right. We don’t single out a class of people to discriminate against. Justice Antonin Scalia, unintentionally of course, actually put it in the best words when he accused the court of “declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency.” That sounds about right.

GEORGE F. GREENE, Brooklyn Park

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Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriage is fully a state-level debate. In light of the fact that it was made legal in Minnesota last month, I am moved to think about the fact that our state’s gay married couples will enjoy full state and federal benefits of marriage soon (as they should).

I think the debate will soon become an economic one, state by state. Think about the huge advantage Minnesota now has over, say, Wisconsin in attracting business and talent. Minnesota will become a very attractive place for many young, educated and creative people. In the coming years, state legislators across the country will be arguing to allow same-sex marriage simply to improve the local economy. States that don’t do so will continue to rank toward the bottom of economic health.

DON JACOBSON, Minneapolis

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… as it pertains to unions, environment

It is reported (June 27) that state Sen. Dave Thompson, as a GOP candidate for governor, “would continue his push to make Minnesota a so-called ‘Right to Work’ state, where union membership and dues are optional.”

Making union membership and dues optional may sound fair, but why not report about the other side of the deceptively named Right to Work laws? There is no mention that even though a worker doesn’t have to belong to the union or pay union dues, that worker still receives the same representation, wages, benefits, vacations, etc., as the dues-paying members. In addition, under right-to-work laws, unions are required by law to represent the non-dues-paying worker when that worker is disciplined or fired, even when those grievances go into the costly arbitration process.

Ask yourself: What other organizations are required to represent everyone even though the person or organization doesn’t pay membership fees/dues of some sort?

Just imagine the outcry from organizations like the American Legion or VFW if all veterans could walk in off the street without paying membership dues and take advantage of all the activities, services and social events these great organizations provide. Just think of the lobbyists who would flood the State Capitol if legislators proposed laws that required the Chamber of Commerce to represent all businesses, regardless of dues.


• • •

A June 27 article about excessive nitrogen in Minnesota’s waterways is yet another example of a business damaging a public asset without paying for it. In this case, farmers’ use of nitrogen fertilizers pollutes waters that the public must clean up — or just live with.

Farmers are not the only “free riders.” Electric utilities do the same when they spew pollutants into the air. Similarly, bankers were free riders when their high-risk activities caused a near-meltdown of our financial system. Taxpayers were required to bail them out, and the bankers suffered little or no cost.

We need to think about how we can recoup the costs imposed on society by such free riders. Perhaps a tax on nitrogen fertilizer, for example.

In addition, we might think again about our own behavior. Excessive car trips pollute the air, clog the roads and impose other costs on society that we drivers do not cover.

So long as it is “free” to mess up public assets, most of us will keep doing it. We can fix this.


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Men, you’re overdressed and making us all suffer

Why do men continue to hang onto the archaic dress code of long-sleeved shirt, tight necktie and coat in this warm summer weather? Time and again we see news broadcasters and businessmen wearing this type of attire while more sensibly attired ladies are wearing sleeveless, open-necklined and very attractive dresses or blouses. This just doesn’t make sense to me. Please — dress for the weather and make your viewers more comfortable.