Poll results guide us in a sensible direction


The Star Tribune Minnesota Poll ("Marriage vote splits the state into two," Sept. 23) validates the arguments of those who oppose the marriage amendment. Sixty-eight percent of likely voters support "civil unions," and 47 percent support "same-sex marriages."

In the United States, we proclaim the separation of church and state. It might be argued that the churches are in the "marriage" business and the government is in the "civil union" business. In Belgium, a couple wishing to be united may participate in two ceremonies. They first go to the courthouse, where they take part in a civil ceremony uniting them in the eyes of the state. Then, if they choose, they go to their place of worship to be united in the eyes of the church.

In the latter case, the clergyman is not acting as an agent of the state. In this country, the clergy inappropriately serve as representatives of the state when they perform a ceremony accepted by the church and the state. The proposed marriage amendment would further obfuscate the church-state relationship.


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Of all of the arguments over the marriage amendment, the one that stands out for me is that voting no is good for the state's business climate and economy. My husband and I were drawn to this state because of the music, theaters and restaurants; the lakes and parks; the social programs that indicated Minnesota's willingness to care for its own, and the economy.

In the last 30 years, people of many different cultures have moved here, enriching the area with different languages, foods and religions. I was always proud that we were an inclusive state. This amendment sends the opposite message.

I am not sure I would have moved here, stayed and raised a family if we were in the same type of political climate that we have now. With that in mind, I wonder how many we will discourage if this amendment passes. I know that I will not encourage my daughter or her partner to live here. She lives in a state that allows them the right to marry, and they are happily engaged. But the wedding won't be here. That money will be spent in another state.


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The pros and cons of the pros and cons


I'm confused; does Minnesota lead the nation in voter-fraud convictions, and did hundreds of felons vote in 2008, or has Minnesota had no cases of voter impersonation, as noted in an opposing article? ("Will photo IDs rock the vote?" Sept. 24).

Since there is not rampant reporting on massive voter fraud after each election, I would come down on the side of none or very few cases of voter fraud or impersonation. Also, if the amendment passes and election judges must run each voter's photo ID through multiple databases as the "for" writer notes; the election process will surely consume more than one day, and in itself would put a damper on voter turnout. What a joy that will be.

The old adage hold true: Photo ID is a solution in search of a problem.


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Thank you for today's enlightening point/counterpoint regarding the voter identification amendment. Here is my brief summary of each writer's argument.

Pro-ID: It will increase the integrity of our election system. It will also allow Minnesotans, be they churches, civic organizations, friends, neighbors or (gasp!) community organizers, to step up to help those who may find it difficult to register and obtain a free ID.

Anti-ID: Oh my gosh! Democrats will lose!

I also find silly the argument that there hasn't been a single case of voter impersonation in Minnesota. How would we know if we never check? It's like a person who is confident they don't have high cholesterol because they've never had it tested.


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Elizabeth Mansfield's caution that we should not presume all disabled people cannot get photo IDs to vote is an appropriate point -- just as we should not presume that Mansfield represents all disabled people in her mobility and access to public services.

But a bigger point is in order here: the Indiana case, Crawford vs. Marion County Election Board, found that there was no evidence of voter ID fraud in Indiana, but that about 43,000 people in Indiana lacked the ID necessary to vote when the lawsuit was decided, sometime before the election. The court was thus not sure whether any individual would actually lose his or her right to vote, and injury is required for courts to hear cases.

Let's assume for purposes of argument that there's even a little voter ID fraud in Minnesota (though there is virtually no evidence of that), and that several thousand Minnesota citizens will be disenfranchised (though the numbers are likely higher).

How can it be that protecting access to the right to vote for all, foundational to our democracy and a right for which hundreds of thousands of our citizens have died, is less important than catching a few fraudulent voters? This effort turns democracy on its head and only demonstrates how cynical we have become about the people who stand in line with us at the voting booth.