Three commentaries, same weak argument
Both Matt Birk ("Let's protect marriage -- and speech," Sept. 30) and Riley Balling ("Why same-sex marriage affects my marriage," Sept. 28) and before them Katherine Kersten ("Really? Don't limit the freedom to marry?" Sept. 23) have been given space on the Opinion page to assert the claim that supporting homosexual marriage diminishes support for "traditional marriage," which in turn leads to failure to rear children adequately. However, a bad argument is not made better by repetition.
What they avoid saying is that the "traditional marriage" they have in mind is not "one man/one woman," but "one man/one woman, and, except for death, one time." If the amendment were directed against divorce, the argument would make some sense -- not much, but some.
What they're reduced to arguing is that if the public votes against putting the prohibition of same-sex marriage in the Constitution, then someday the statutes might be revised to allow it, and then married family men might notice a story on a gay marriage and say to themselves, "Well, if they can do it, then marriage must not amount to much, so I may as well run off with a stripper." And this is considered an adequate reason to deprive some of our fellow citizens of an important civil right.
JOHN SHERMAN, MOORHEAD, MINN.
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Believe or leave; plus, its many good deeds
I find it utterly amazing that so many so called Catholics are so utterly hostile to Archbishop John Nienstedt's request asking for funds to support the marriage amendment. If you are Catholic, chances are that what the church believes and teaches about marriage should come as no surprise to you. But the ridiculous anger and blatant disregard for authority are embarrassing to those of us who actually stand with the church. If you don't want to have to obey the bishops of the church, leave. It's that simple. Better fewer and more faithful Catholics than pews full of Judas Iscariots who could care less, or worse, who are actually enemies of the faith.
ERIC MUELLERLEILE, HUTCHINSON, MINN.
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A recent letter took issue with the archbishop's appeal to raise money to support a "yes" vote for the marriage amendment. The writer suggested that the effort should instead be used to help the homeless.
The writer obviously is not aware of the annual Catholic Services appeal, conducted by the archbishop, that raises $9 million each year to provide services to the elderly, victims of AIDS, pregnant women, education assistance for children of the poor, services to refugees and immigrants, and many other programs.
The writer probably is not familiar, either, with the work of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese. The services of Catholic Charities include providing 500 beds every night for the homeless; operating a very successful program to find permanent housing for the homeless (Housing First); serving more than 2,000 meals daily to the hungry; operating several food shelves; providing shelter, security, food and support to runaway youths in our city (St. Joseph's Home); providing shelter for single women with children, and managing the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul.
PATRICK FINLEY, EDINA
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Show buck-passing legislators the door
Jack Davies' commentary concerning this year's proposed constitutional amendments ("Let's keep it a clean Constitution," Oct. 3) makes for a good civics lesson. Beyond what Davies wrote concerning the constitutional role of structuring government and laying the ground rules, this year's proposed amendments reflect improper governance from our current Legislature.
When legislators choose to sidestep their jobs and throw issues back to the voting public, it is time for voters to show those legislators the door. Our Legislature and governor are elected to come together on these issues. That is the job taxpayers pay them to do. Taxpayers should not pay them to simply pass the buck back. When this occurs, we know those elected officials simply aren't doing their jobs.
Using constitutional amendments as a means of governing is itself an affront to our state Constitution. Davies wrote about this eloquently, and I would submit that this reality alone is enough to vote "no" on both amendments, regardless of my feelings about same-sex marriage or voter IDs.
CHRISTOPHER NERLIEN, ST. PAUL
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Skip the games; just write a check
Well, here it is October again, and the pink scam is starting in earnest. Every time you turn around, another company is approaching you to buy something, and if you do, they will oh-so-generously donate money to breast-cancer research.
My mother died of breast cancer, so I know the pain it causes. But if you want to do some good, just write a check to a legitimate charity and skip the phony offers from companies. They are using this terrible disease to increase their sales. If you write your own check, you know that all of your money is going to the cause you support, and you get the tax deduction, too.
Companies are also free to donate. They aren't required by law to tie their donation to your purchase. They, too, can simply write a check. It would be the right thing to do.
JANET BATES, EAGAN