Don't misuse research to bolster claims

In her Oct. 21 commentary, Autumn Leva, the spokeswoman for Minnesota for Marriage, argues that the marriage amendment is necessary because "children do best when raised by their married mother and father." As evidence, Leva refers to a 10-year-old research brief from Child Trends, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan research center that studies children at all stages of development.

What Leva fails to recognize, however, is that the research discussed by Child Trends compares married biological parents to single-parent families, step-families and cohabiting relationships. There is no comparison to stable, two-parent, same-sex households, which is the relevant and necessary comparison group for her argument to carry any weight.

The Child Trends brief in question was released in 2002, when same-sex parents were not identified in large national surveys. Therefore, no conclusions can be drawn from that report about the well-being of children raised by same-sex parents.

We have pointed this out repeatedly, yet to our dismay we continue to see our research mischaracterized by some opponents of same-sex marriage. This is a disservice to the voting public.


Starr is a research scientist for Child Trends, and Emig is the president.

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Some argue that a "yes" vote on the marriage amendment is a vote for discrimination against homosexuals. That's bogus.

But for the sake of the argument, you could also say that a "no" vote is a vote for discrimination against the people of faith who believe that same-sex relationships are immoral and contrary to God's plan for societies to succeed socially and biologically.

It's true that a "no" vote doesn't guarantee that same-sex marriage will become a reality in Minnesota, but left to the increasingly secularized courts and legal system, the probability of same-sex marriage eventually becoming legal is high.

Once that happens, the state and the legal system will be under obligation to side with the law, which would further discriminate against some people of faith.

Religious communities opposed to same-sex marriage would be asked to deny their faith and consciences or face dire consequences -- a clear violation of freedom of religion and free speech. Many people of faith need the protection from discrimination that the amendment would offer.


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Why shouldn't they vote in Minnesota?

Jim Ragsdale's blog post on "felon voters" (Hot Dish Politics, Oct. 21) was quite revealing in pointing out that both Maine and Vermont allow convicts in prisons to vote. Convicts in state prisons are considered to be residents of the municipality where the prison is located. If it's a large prison of, say, more than 5,000 inmates, that municipality receives more state money and its legislative district may receive an extra representative seat. It seems to me that if inmates count in the census where they're "housed," then they should have the right to vote in that district.


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Don't overlook the role of climate change

It's hard to believe that the Star Tribune could print a major front-page article on rising home insurance rates, caused by more severe weather, and fail to mention that the cause of that increasing severity is climate change ("Storms push insurance rates sky-high," Oct. 21).

Munich Re is the world's largest reinsurance company (a company that insures other insurance companies for disaster losses). Its data show that since 1980, while the number of earthquakes and volcanoes worldwide has remained flat, the number of floods, droughts and storms has risen along with the Earth's rising temperature. A warmer atmosphere has more energy, and that is reflected in stronger storms and higher insurance losses.


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They're great players and set a good example

The Lynx may have lost the WNBA championship, but the players remain awesome champions of character ("Bad case of Fever burns up Lynx," Oct. 22). My excited 9-year-old granddaughter called me recently to tell me that her favorite Lynx player, Maya Moore, had written a personal, handwritten reply to her fan letter. It showed integrity on Moore's part and real interest in her young fans. Thanks, Maya, for making my granddaughter's day and setting an example for young athletes. Our whole family will be waiting for next year to cheer for the Lynx. Thanks for another great season in which you not only had the best record in the league, but also won the Western Conference.


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Cherry-picking history to criticize Obama

The Star Tribune didn't have to devote an entire column to the shallow reasoning and eclectic scholarship of Katherine Kersten to tell us that President Obama is a liberal who sees that sometimes extending the vision of our founders is both desirable and necessary ("From Obama, agenda at odds with founders," Oct. 21).

As president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama evidently learned enough about our Constitution to be hired to teach it at another prestigious institution, the University of Chicago, where he saw no reason to repeal amendments that our founding fathers didn't include, such as women's suffrage and the abolition of slavery.

And if you really believe that Woodrow Wilson dismissed the Constitution as outmoded, then you must be for dismissing the changes to it that occurred on his watch, such as the 19th Amendment.

Since Kersten is in the habit of cherry-picking quotes, she may even find it convenient in the future to have President Wilson on her side with an excerpt from a speech to the New York Press Club in 1912: "The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it."