Not a trend; justice centuries in the making

Rep. Michael Beard, R-Shakopee, was quoted in Tuesday’s Star Tribune as saying: “I mean, marriage is what it is, but they are redefining words and redefining meanings that have been in use for centuries because it is the cause of the week, the flavor of the month” — as though being permitted to choose the gender of one’s mate is as insignificant as choosing a flavor of ice cream (“Same-sex marriage vote nears finish line,” May 7).

For centuries, the Judeo-Christian tradition in which our culture is marinated has forbidden homosexual activity. As a result, for centuries gay people have been persecuted and forced into hiding. The fact that marriage has been defined this way for centuries just emphasizes the fact that this change is centuries overdue.

Flavor of the month? Please.

Ed Salden, Chaska

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So what flavor was Dr. Martin Luther King, fighting for equal rights for African-Americans? How about Cesar Chavez? What flavor was his attempt to advance the rights of immigrant farm laborers in California? Or Susan B. Anthony and the struggle for women’s voting rights?

All these flavors are beginning to sound like Baskin-Robbins! Seriously, though, you should be able to disagree with an issue without sounding demeaning or mean-spirited toward those you disagree with. These flavors vote, too.

Darryl Coovert, Eden Prairie

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Shortly before I was sent to Vietnam as a teenager in 1968, I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. With that as a backdrop, I found the two recent articles about Chris Kluwe (Sports and Business sections, May 5) interesting.

As Minnesota taxpayers, my wife and I, very much against our wishes, will be providing tax dollars to an out-of-state billionaire for another stadium. Apparently, the Minnesota Vikings ownership did not support Kluwe’s belief that the 14th Amendment (equal protection of the laws) applies to same-sex couples, so Kluwe was released.

Does that mean those of us who support marriage equality do not have to provide tax money to the Wilf family? If, in fact, that is not the case, words fail me as to how offensive my wife and I find this entire process.

Given the current state of the Minnesota infrastructure, we would prefer to see our tax money spent on the long list of things — roads, bridges, schools, etc. — that need to be repaired or replaced.

Those jobs we keep hearing about related to another taxpayer-funded stadium could, instead, be directed at projects that would benefit all who live here.

Tom Edwards, Forest Lake

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‘Bombs away’ is not a display of courage

The May 7 editorial cartoon has a perplexed looking President Obama announcing that since “Syria’s Assad is out of control, there is only one thing to do … hope that Israel shows some guts.”

Since being a cartoonist just has to be easier than being the leader of the free world, one doesn’t expect far-reaching insight, but I do wonder what exactly “showing guts” would look like in Dana Summers’ estimation.

Can even the most hawkish among us agree that “nuking” is not an option? Air or drone attacks risk placing civilians at greater risk, both from the bombing itself, but also the probable release of poison gases that are suspected. In addition to the physical damage of bombing, it is a no-win situation in the battle for hearts and minds in the Middle East. Putting soldiers on the ground would be extremely complex with a slim chance of success, and exposing them to gas attacks. Then there is the sticky problem of extricating ourselves from another war. As one journalist said recently, “the options are terrifying.”

Showing guts is often best done using intelligence, restraint and diplomacy. Sadly, there will always be those who seek to answer every dilemma with guns blazing.

Kathleen Wedl, Edina

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North Dakota OIL

It’s still not enough; we need renewable

The oil boom in the Bakken and Three Forks formations is attracting a lot of attention these days (“North Dakota oil field is 7-billion-barrel giant,” May 1).

But often overlooked is the fact that even with new drilling technologies and the revised estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey, there’s only enough oil there to supply the United States with about 13 months of gasoline at 2011 consumption rates. For our country’s transportation sector to be truly energy-independent, we have to focus more on renewable energy.

Fortunately, Minnesota and the Dakotas can play a big part in our future. All three states are rich in renewable agricultural resources that can be converted into liquid transportation fuels called advanced biofuels. According to the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs, Minnesota and its neighboring states are home to at least nine advanced biofuel companies.

These innovative American companies provide a market for crop waste like wheat straw and corn stover. This does not interfere with the food supply, and it helps family farms increase their revenues. At nearby biorefineries, crop waste is then processed into clean-burning fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, creating high-paying jobs that keep young people close to their rural hometowns.

The Bakken oil boom is certainly an amazing story. But let’s not kid ourselves. If we want to build an economic foundation that will last generations, we have to turn to renewable energy.

David Kolsrud, Brandon, S.D.