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April 11, 2005

Return to civil debate on marriage amendment

Last Saturday, same-sex marriage proponents stepped over the line of civil debate into threatening behavior that has the potential for personal safety being put at risk. Supporters of same-sex marriage were recruited across the state via the internet to converge on a Town Hall meeting in Scandia, Minnesota on Saturday, April 9th. Sen. Michele Bachmann, author of the constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and Rep. Ray Vandeveer arrived at their scheduled meeting to discover an unruly group who turned out to be largely a gay/lesbian crowd from outside the Scandia area. An announcement steeped in highly abusive language had been posted on the internet detailing the Scandia meeting and the vehicle Bachmann drives.

Pressure is building on the Minnesota Senate to allow Senate members to vote on whether to add a constitutional amendment to the 2006 Minnesota election ballot. Most of the public supports that amendment. Tactics of intimidation toward the authors of the marriage amendment have been escalating. Last Saturday, the same-sex marriage contingent dominated the Scandia Town Hall meeting to the point that little else could be discussed by constituents who had come to visit with their elected representatives. When the meeting was over, the boisterous crowd refused repeated requests for them to leave. Sen. Bachmann was verbally harassed and, for a time, was refused exit from a restroom by two women who blocked the doorway.

The debate over a constitutional amendment should return to reasoned debate and lawful respect for people and the process. Passions should be reined in and lines of respect and decency re-established. Intimidation and threats are the hallmark of mob rule, not representative government.

Same-sex marriage and the school curriculum
Legislators tell us that proponents of same-sex marriage, when asked if students have the right to believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, will universally say no, students do not have the right to that belief. The school, they say, is responsible for training students that such a moral belief is bigoted and hateful.

Parents must consider the serious implications of this position for our children and for the schools. The March 28th issue of National Review magazine features an article by David Frum entitled, "A New Word, A New Day," in which he describes a concept that will take hold in school curriculi everywhere if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land. The concept is called "Hetero-normative," and it means that words are homophobic if they imply "that standard sexual relationships are only between males and females."

For example, a controversy raged last February when a Harvard speaker described her life this way: "Women, you can have it all -- a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career. They say you gotta choose. Nah, nah, nah... You can do whatever you want. All you have to do is want it." The gay and lesbian groups filed a complaint because "the content was specific to male-female relationships." Similarly, the governor of Massachusetts was chastised by the Boston Globe for "mean spirited politics" when he stated that every child "has a right to a mother and a father." Praise for the traditional family is bigoted in the new world of gender-free marriages.

Frum makes the point that "same-sex marriage does not extend marriage. It transforms marriage." Husbands and wives, mothers and fathers will be required to be removed as concepts from law -- for every citizen, not merely for homosexuals. Where do these ideas lead us? Frum tells us: "This is not a debate about extending an institution; it is a debate about overthrowing a norm; not about reconstruction, but about destruction." This is what schools will be required to teach our kids -- that hetero-normative language is hate-speech.

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