Majority has no right to trample on minority

A new Minnesota Poll found that a majority of Minnesotans oppose same-sex marriage (March 6). I think a couple of points need to be made. First, if you believe as I do that the vast majority of people with same-sex preferences are born that way, it does not seem at all right that we should expect them to be someone they’re not.

As a happily heterosexual married man, I could only imagine how I would react if things were reversed and the majority of the population was gay. Suffice to say that I would be a somewhat militant heterosexual. Second, although the United States is a constitutional democracy operating according to majority rule, our Constitution provides for inalienable rights for individual citizens. This clearly means that the majority does not have the right to trample on individual liberties.

Although I understand how racial minorities might have a hard time accepting this fact, the bottom line is that the issue of gay rights is absolutely the civil-rights issue of our time.

Jim Eilers, Burnsville

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New hire feels like shift toward secular

The Star Tribune Editorial Board completely missed the point of why Julie Sullivan’s appointment as president of the University of St. Thomas was so unfortunate and misguided (“A bold hire for St. Thomas,” March 6).

St. Thomas is the largest private and faith-based university in the state. So it is a surprise that its choice was a second-in-command from a smaller school whose academic degrees are in accounting and business. Where is the emphasis on philosophy, theology and ethics that is so critical to a faith-based university? There are many wonderful religious men and women who could have helped turn around St. Thomas.

I recently took a graduate-level “ethics in leadership” course and expected to study great Catholic ethical and philosophical thinkers such as St. Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, John Henry Newman, Pope John Paul II, Alasdair MacIntyre and even the non-Catholic Aristotle. To my great dismay, the course included only standard secular frameworks for evaluating ethical issues, with nary a thought granted to the great thinkers of our tradition. I could have received the same training at any secular university.

St. Thomas is becoming a secular institution with stained-glass windows — pretty on the outside, but spiritually failing on the inside. What a sad loss for a place I called home.

Mark Cossack, Shoreview

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There are consequences to anti-employee rules

I suspect that the recent management decisions to curtail flexible work plans at Yahoo and Best Buy are causing many employees around the whole nation to learn why labor unions became strong 50 to 80 years ago. Regardless of how one feels about “flex work,” there is a history lesson here.

As the nation became industrialized, it was evident then, as now, that the individual employee has very little power over pay scales and working conditions, whether in an office, a store or a factory. Only by uniting with fellow workers to bargain with management on these issues could employees have some say about the conditions so important in their lives.

The 40-hour workweek, vacation and sick-day rules, as well as overtime pay and other issues, were not gifts from the goodness of the hearts of managers. They were achieved by collective bargaining.

All current political efforts to create so-called “right-to-work” laws are simply designed to disempower workers and further empower management. I hope today’s lesson will be learned.

Mary Anne Page, Minneapolis

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It’s the wrong way to improve quality, access

For a state that wants to improve care and early learning in order to reduce the achievement gap, unionization is a serious step in the wrong direction.

Raising the profession of home-based child care is done by improving the quality of care. Educating providers, parents, communities and legislators is the way to do that — not through bullying by a union.

Providers maintaining capacity, due to the quality of their care, do not rely on or need to accept families who are part of the Child Care Assistance Program. Sadly, being required to join a union or no longer accepting those receiving CCAP are the options that would be available for those providers, limiting the access to families that need them the most.

Providers are small-business owners and do not want to be employees of the state. Many families seek faith-based family child care. As state employees, the rights of providers to offer faith-based care would not be protected.

There are professional organizations and programs that can offer what the union “promises.” Union dues and fees would raise the cost of providing care and, ultimately, child care rates.

When I explained to the union representative at my door why I am opposed to the union, he said, “That makes sense.” Yes, it does make sense. The union does not.

Natalie Marose, Bloomington

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A happy driver values those who plow roads

I would like to give a big shout-out and a huge “thank you” to the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the municipalities of Bloomington, Eagan and Inver Grove Heights for the phenomenal job they did clearing roads before, during and after the snowfall of March 4-5.

Every road I took on my commute was in good winter driving condition. Too often city and state workers only hear complaints as we go about our driving. They should also be acknowledged when they do a fantastic job!

Jean Winter, Inver Grove Heights