After a vigorous debate, a direction is decided

It is said that politics is the exercise of power, and sometimes that is all it is. But at its best, politics is the exercise of the power of persuasion.

I remember the debate in 2011 when the Minnesota Senate voted to put the anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment on the ballot. Except for the proposal’s floor manager, I don’t remember a single proponent explaining why it was good public policy. Why should they? It was a done deal; they had the votes and didn’t see any need to persuade their colleagues or the people. Largely as a result of their failure to advance a persuasive argument, the people of Minnesota rejected their proposed amendment by a surprisingly large margin.

Contrast that exercise of raw power to the vigorous debate of the marriage equality board in the House and Senate in 2013: Though the result of the votes was just as certain before the debate started as it was in 2011, the proponents of marriage equality continued the conversation with the people of Minnesota, explaining why legally recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples is the right, just and constitutional thing to do. The opponents similarly argued their point.

I am proud that Minnesota is adopting marriage equality in the political process, after a full and fair debate, and that the process has respected the intelligence and dignity, and inherent worth of every Minnesotan.

Paul Landskroener, Minneapolis

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Our state and our elected representatives will never look more foolish than the day we tried to correct God’s definition of marriage.

Maurice Russell, Echo, Minn.

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We love our children, friends, neighbors, relatives and coworkers. This is not an excuse to accept their unnatural and destructive choice for same-sex marriage. Proclaiming acceptance of same-sex marriage unions as a loving, positive choice for the building-up of a strong society is against the natural and spiritual order of humanity. You can deceive yourself with positive affirmations for your behavior, but time will tell the ultimate truth. We are all going to have to endure the results of creating laws to support aberrant life choices.

Kathleen Hoffman, Minneapolis

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As I watched the live feed from the State Capitol before the Senate vote on Monday, I looked at the faces in the crowd. People of every color and nationality were standing together for a cause. If they weren’t carrying signs or wearing specific T-shirts, I’d have had no idea on which side of the issue they stood. I watched as people began to sing and saw a women holding a “one man-one woman” sign reach across to someone holding an “equality in marriage” sign. They held hands and joined in the singing. Our son and his partner of 12 years were somewhere in that crowd. They, too, want to have the right to marry.

This nation needs to come together as one. That is what I saw Monday. We need to follow the lead of that one woman, reaching out across the aisle, to join hands and heart together for one cause. That’s what Jesus would do!

Sandi Tundel, Eden Prairie

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Another layer of Obama onion is peeled back

Were you surprised when it was disclosed that the IRS commissioner knew about the targeting of conservative organizations (“IRS admits it targeted Tea Party groups,” May 11)? Or, did the disclosure appear to you as learning of just one more ugly activity of the Obama administration as another layer of the onion was peeled back?

A layer was peeled from the Energy Department, and it was discovered that billions of taxpayer dollars had been wasted funding entities run by Obama fundraisers. A closer look at the National Labor Relations Board revealed policies to reward labor unions for their support of Obama at our expense.

Look at the changes to the CIA’s report of what happened at Benghazi made by the State Department and White House to lead us to believe the attacks were caused by a video that almost no one had seen.

Obama sets a “tone at the top” that allows and supports using the government to achieve his political goals with no regard to the cost placed on taxpayers. I wonder what we would find if we peeled a layer of the onion at the Education Department, Health and Human Services Department, and other units of government?

Bill Halling, Edina

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Disgusting are efforts by the IRS to target a specific group — religious, ethnic, civic, etc. Even more disgusting is the IRS targeting a political party at odds with the current administration. But even worse is the IRS targeting a group that tries to educate Americans on the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution. Using the tools of the government to tear down the fabric of that very government is the beginning of the end for that form of government.

Andy Westerhaus, Burnsville

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The dust-up over IRS scrutiny of Tea Party and antigovernment groups is beyond ridiculous. These groups are based on the concept of overtaxation and opposition to the federal government. Tax protesters seeking tax-exempt status would logically require the IRS to red-flag and investigate these groups. I would be concerned if it weren’t investing extra scrutiny. The logic of this type of profiling is so obvious and the protest so absurd that we can be assured of months of Republican congressional witch hunts as soon as we finish beating the dead horse of Benghazi.

Michael Mummah, Brooklyn Park