Vote No campaign kicks of Iron Range closing argument

Though I have strong personal political views, I try to avoid letting this blog become too activist in its goals. I like to report and analyze, but also like people to make up their own minds about how to vote. This reflects a change from the early days of this blog, which many of you might recall. For instance, though I know exactly who I’m voting for up and down the ballot, I’m going to avoid formal “endorsements” this fall.

So I know I am trying the patience of some of my socially conservative readers with my stance in opposition to the Marriage Amendment on the ballot next Tuesday. This is one instance where I am making the editorial judgement that I have a role to share an important viewpoint on this issue in an area where the issue is often misunderstood. I welcome alternative views in the comments. Frankly, there is a 50/50 chance the amendment passes. Supporters owe affected citizens born with the predisposition to love people of their own gender a serious explanation why their very identity should be condemned in the state constitution. Why is this necessary?

For the many who have contacted me supporting my stance on this, thanks. If this issue matters to you consider giving some time to the Vote No campaign. Here on the Iron Range, the Minnesotans United for All Families organization will be conducting Vote No phone calls and planning GOTV efforts at their Hibbing office at 409 E. Howard Street (next to Bikes on Howard). The campaign begins Friday night from 6-9 p.m. and continues Saturday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Stop in, if you are so inclined.


  1. You don’t try my patience. I’m just sorry you are actively in favor of something which I believe destroys lives and blights society. But if we can’t discuss it civilly then we have simply added another problem to the mix.

  2. Perhaps Mr.Gray can tell us how this destroys lives and blights society.
    Thank you, Aaron, for standing up for civil rights for ALL citizens.

  3. Those in favor of the marriage amendment are not “born with the predisposition to not love people of their own gender”.

    You’re way of base with such a statement Aaron.

    I contend they love people of their own gender as much as those who are in favor of calling a union of two people of the same sex a marriage.

    Why do you spew such hate?

  4. @David – I think we can discuss it civilly, but the position you describe is a full opposite of mine. I would argue that the passage of the amendment would blight society and harm families — families I know personally. You base your position on a value system that, while often compatible with mine, is in this instance wholly incompatible. I get the sense you feel the same way. I value your thoughtful, principled comments but on this we simply disagree.
    @Jackie, thanks.
    @R47, you apparently have shown up looking for a fight, which I will not grant you. My point is that gay people are born gay. They are born with an affectional orientation toward members of their own gender, which is what I was saying. I chose not to use the term sexual orientation because people are quick to assume that this is all about sex. I think most married people would agree that the union is about more than sex.

    In any event, I continue to argue that religions be able to define marriage how they see fit. The state should treat equally people with different opinions about the matter.

  5. Aaron
    It’s not logical to assume one is “looking for a fight” just because they state an opinion not in line with yours…unless all debates are now fights (which is an easy leap to take these days).

    That said – The state already has laws which require “treating people with differing opinions equally”..but having the state radically change the definition of long-standing already understood words is well…insane. You being a man of letters should understand that…

  6. I described people who happen to be gay a particular way and you inferred I was casting aspertions about amendment supporters. I wasn’t saying anything about amendment supporters. You flew off the handle and I don’t have time for that.

    As for the state changing the meaning of words, that’s ridiculous. I teach in my communication class that the dictionary doesn’t decide what words mean, people do in how they use them. What the state does is respond to the will of the people in ways that conform to the constutition, a document designed to protect the rights of all. The definition and expectations of marriage have indeed changed greatly over the past several hundred years and good thing they did. The greatest threat to marriage is lack of character and conviction in people’s approach to it. I would argue, and I know this is a sticking point, that committed gay couples are not a threat. Since we can’t legislate the real problem — character — I see no sense in scapegoating other citizens. I know some, including David and you, Bob, might have deeply held convictions on this issue. But this is an amendment based on the politics of frustration and fear. Again, as you know, this is my opinion.

  7. The “state” changing the meaning of words is far from ridiculous Aaron. Judicial activism (the state), a philosophy by which judges impose their own personal views to make policy, has been going on for decades. Judicial activism is the sole reason the Marriage Amendment was put prevent the state from redefining a word. (Hopefully your students aren’t reading this..)

    I’d also argue, debate, that the fundamental definition of marriage has not changed over the centuries. Never has it been defined as anything but the union of one man, one woman. Dark side, societal fringe groups for years have tried to destroy the sanctity of marriage…and unfortunately, they’ve chipped away at it. But it’s still widely recognized, and accepted, to be the union of one man, one woman.

  8. I hope my students are reading this, Bob. You’re condemning them because of the way some of them, their brothers and sisters and friends were born. What “dark side, societal fringe groups” are you talking about? More black helicopters. When you don’t see helicopters, you invent them.

    A variety of things have been “widely recognized” over time. The law reflects human ability to balance human rights with majority rule. That’s why no amendment restricting rights should ever be written in the constitution. Ever. I understand that you disagree, but the fact that your social norms are not being enforced on other people is not an excuse to change this fundamental tenet of constitutional principles. Again, and again, my opinion. Fortunately your right to disagree is protected by the constitution.

  9. Aaron, Aaron
    Defining marriage as a union between one man, one woman condemns no one…and is very much majority rule, as we’ll confirm on Nov. 6th..

  10. Ever feel like you’re talking to a brick wall, Aaron?

  11. Aaron
    You might wish to decouple sex from marriage, but it’s not reality. Tom & Jeanne Lombardo in The Evolution and Future Direction of Marriage, list nine virtues of the ideal marriage….a fair, unarguable list:.

     Sexuality, Romance, and Passion
     Love and Compassion
     Transcendence (Identification of Higher Ideal) and Spirituality (Away from Self-Centeredness)
     Honesty and Truth
     Fidelity, Loyalty, and Mutual Trust
     Justice, Equality, and Reciprocity
     Self-Efficacy – Coupled Responsibility – Co-Creativity – Hope and Optimism
     Courage and Faith
     Wisdom

    The Lombardo’s understand unlike you, that a committed ideal marriage requires sexuality – sex. Realize this is “the ideal”, something no one can possibly live up to, not unlike the Ten Commandments. However, it’s worth striving for.

    What is not addressed in their book are the virtues of the ideal family. But if you believe families are the “best” ways to procreate, raise kids…then inherently a gay marriage falls short of the mark from the get go. As a society, it’s not an ideal worth striving towards.

  12. Jackie..
    It’s been said the scenario describing “talking to a brick wall” comes about due to the speaker using poor communications skills. We’re in full agreement.

    Now, instead of picking on Aaron, use your own God given gifts and add some value to the discussion.

  13. I’m sorry, Bob, I’m confused. Do you mean that I’m using poor communication skills? We disagree. I don’t accept your argument and I’ve explained why. Not just here, but in my other work. And that’s all I’ve got to say for now.

  14. Aaron communicates very clearly.I do not attribute any talents I may possess to God. Now that should really set you off, Ranger….

  15. Well said!!! Interesting but this come with no surprise… 😀

  16. It does set me off Jackie…by adding you to my prayer list. It also helps us understand the lack of constructive content in your posts. God bless..

  17. Point blank: You cannot use religion as a reason against gay marriage. As a citizen of the US we are given the freedom of religion (or as I say, FROM religion)… by passing a law that sets its foundation on religion, we are contradicting ourselves. Why would the rest of us follow religious teachings if we don’t subscribe in the first place? Let’s progress people!

  18. “It does set me off Jackie…by adding you to my prayer list. “


  19. New American Bible Saint Joseph Edition

    James, Chapter Two, 12-13 states: “So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

    Mr. Gray and R47 seem to display a lot of judgment and little mercy.

    The context of this portion of James is noted as, “The law upon which the last judgment will be based is the law of freedom. As Jesus taught, mercy (which participates in God’s own loving mercy) includes forgiveness of those who wrong us (see Mt 6, 12.14-15).”

    Mr. Gray and R47 feel wronged. Yet, they are judgmental rather than merciful.

    The sign in my yard reads, “Another Catholic Voting No”

  20. Wow…I’m amazed with the cynicism of the crowd you run with Aaron. God help us, them, our kids and the Range..!

  21. T…”Another Catholic Voting No”?

    Check with Bishop Paul D. Sirba. As you might, or should know, he’s released the following statement concerning the Minnesota Protection Amendment:

    “The Diocese of Duluth has received some questions since a newspaper reporter uncovered public records indicating that a parish priest of our diocese made a donation to a group opposing the Marriage Protection Amendment facing Minnesota voters.

    Catholic teaching about marriage and human sexuality is beautifully clear. Marriage, both as a social institution and, in the Christian context, as a sacrament, is a union of one man and one woman.

    The bishops of Minnesota, along with priests, deacons and laypeople, have been vigorously teaching and defending this truth, including through support of an amendment to the state constitution that would preserve this definition from active attempts in the state legislature and in state courts to redefine marriage”.

    By definition, you’re a heretic. You should stop fooling yourself, friends and family by professing your a Catholic, you’re not..

  22. Jackie, Jackie…May you come to realize there’s a power greater than you that can restore you to sanity. God be with you..

  23. Geez T…
    I’m just getting caught up on todays “news” and ran across this –

    by Dr. Susan Berry 1 Nov 2012, 3:45PM PDT

    “Bishop Michael Sheridan of the Roman Catholic diocese of Colorado Springs warned Vice President Joe Biden that “he ought not to be receiving Communion.”

    In an interview The Colorado Springs Gazette, Bishop Sheridan said that Canon Law states, “a Catholic politician who publicly espouses positions that are contrary, not just to any teachings of the Church, but to serious moral teachings, should not receive Holy Communion until they recant those positions publicly.” Sheridan stated that abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and religious liberty are not negotiable issues for Catholic politicians”.

    Best you take your hypocritical sign down…before a true Catholic does.


    if anyone is interested…

  25. From

    C4ME – Who We Are
    We are Roman Catholics who advocate for civil marriage for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. We are called to such advocacy by the Gospel message of liberation and our Church’s teachings on justice and human rights.

    As Catholics we value compassion, justice, family, truth-telling and love, and we witness all of these qualities and values in the lives and relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. In other words, we see the face of God in the love of same-sex couples and families.

    We agree with the Catholic Bishops of the United States when in their 1997 pastoral statement, Always Our Children, they write:

    “Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Catholic Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them.”

    These are powerful words rooted in Jesus’ call for social justice. As such, they supersede certain teachings of the Church that reflect a medieval and inadequate understanding of human sexuality – teachings that, accordingly, are unresponsive to the presence of God in the lives of LGBT people. Furthermore, we believe that civil marriage is one of those “fundamental human rights” referred to by the U.S. Catholic bishops.

    For these reasons and others, we support marriage equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation.

  26. Beware T..,
    Heresy has standards which are easily achieved by the least of us…and it gladly welcomes groups as well as individuals

  27. I just love how those men in the long black skirts are passing judgements on marriage when they are certainly in no position to do so, being celibate and all.

  28. “Mr. Gray and R47 feel wronged. Yet, they are judgmental rather than merciful. “

    True mercy is in pursuing what is good for people. You are like a man who thinks he loves heroin addicts so he gives them needles and heroin because that is what they want. Your “mercy” has the whiff of the grave about it.

  29. Thanks Mr. Gray. You are correct. My mercy does have the whiff of the grave about it. No argument there.

    I enjoy your company. I’m glad you guys post here. It wouldn’t be the same without ya. For some reason I think I care about you guys.

    Also, I do support needle exchange programs. You are right. I can’t judge the addict. I just hope to help them not spread disease or infection among each other.

    Plus, I enjoy helping to ensure they have clothes, food, and shelter. I want them to feel loved, not judged or abandoned. That way they stand a chance to get better at some point during their lives. Its the human condition, man. It is all gray (ha!), not black and white.

    Sometimes I try to do what I can to bring peace to prisoners, as well…

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