The Game-Changer

I’ve said it many times in this forum; Gay Marriage isn’t the biggest issue to me.

Oh, I believe “marriage” is about a guy and a gal and having kids, sure enough.  I believe that marriage is something sanctioned by the God I believe in.   I believe the religious reason is rooted in an evolutionary reason – children need both male and female parents to grow and develop as best they can (and, with that in mind, I’ll also say that I support gay adoption, in preference to single parenthood, if only because the stresses of single parenting are so very very intense). There is not a single significant religion in the world that sanctions same-sex marriage.  Not that all of the world’s religions are internally unified on the idea of same-sex marriage, as with any other political issue.

You, naturally, don’t have to believe in my God, or believe in Him in the way I do, which is why our government separates church and state.  And why I believe there’s a case to be made to allow single-sex couples to sign contracts with each other (and, for that matter, to allow any religious denomination to find some way to theologically justify it).

But while it’s not a big issue for me, personally – I’m here, I’m straight, and I’m not going away – it certainly is a defining issue for a lot of people, including quite a few that aren’t traditional Republicans.

Earlier this week, Archbishop Nienstedt, the top Catholic in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, released a video – on Youtube, and on a DVD that is being mailed to Catholics throughout the region via the good graces of an “unnamed donor” – that pretty much laid down the ecclesiastical smack on single-sex marriage.

Now, Nienstedt is a social conservative, in contrast with his predecessor.  His message is far from unexpected.

What is unexpected is the regional social left’s response to Nienstedt’s video.  They are outraged.

It almost seems out of proportion to the video; after all, Nienstedt has been a social conservative all along; as such, among largely traditionally left-of-center Twin Cities Catholics, he’s been a known quantity since long before he became Archbishop.

No – they are outraged because same sex marriage, even in traditionally “purple” Minnesota, is not just a loser for the Dems; a new poll shows it’s a potential game-changer.

Lawrence Research carried out a poll three weeks ago, among 600 likely voters.  The poll, by way of level-setting, discovered Minnesotans feel the state is on the wrong track by a 57-31 margin.

And, as befitted a poll taken in August, two weeks after the primary, as Tom Emmer’s campaign was just getting started, the initial poll result looked good for Mark Dayton, who pulled out to a 40-33 lead, with Horner drawing 14%.

Then, and only then, the pollsters brough same-sex marriage into the picture.   The Minnesotans polled say “marriage” should be between a man and a woman by a 58-36 margin, with very few – 6% – undecided.

The sample also overwhelmingly believe that future legislation about the definition of marriage should be carried out by the voters, rather than the Legislature or the Federal courts (62%, 6% and 19% respectively, with 13% undecided).

Here’s where it got interesting.  I’ll quote from the Lawrence poll:

5. Have you heard or read anything about efforts to have the state legislature legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota?

Yes, aware……………………………….. 51

No, unaware…………………………….. 49

Initially I was surprised the “Yes” was that low.  Then I realized – the DFL and media (pardon the redundancy) have wanted to soft-pedal this news.  After reflection, I’m surprised it’s that high.

Because I suspect they knew how this next question was going to break out:

6. Gubernatorial candidates Mark Dayton, DFL, and Tom Horner, Independence, both support same-sex marriage while Tom Emmer, Republican, believes that marriage should be preserved as only between a man and a woman.  In light of this, if the election were held today, would you vote for … (ALTERNATE READING 1-2-3 AND 2-1-3)

Tom Emmer, Republican……………… 43

Mark Dayton, DFL……………………. 36

Tom Horner, Independence Party…. 11

[UNDECIDED]………………………… 10

Catch that?  Among this sample, introducing the notion that the definition of marriage will be taken out of the peoples’ hands and given to the legislature or, worse, the courts causes a 14 points swing.

And the poll has ramifications down-ticket, in state legislative races, as well:

7. Let’s say you have decided to vote for a candidate for the state legislature because you agree with most of his or her positions on the issues.  Then, let’s say you find out that your chosen candidate has the opposite position of yours on the marriage issue.  Would you still vote for that candidate or would you switch and vote for someone who agrees with your position on the marriage issue?

Would still vote for original candidate………………….. 47

Would switch and vote for someone else……………… 38

[NO OPINION]…………………………………………….. 15

That means over a third of respondents would ditch a legislative candidate who favored legislating single-sex marriage from above (almost invariably DFLers).

Bear in mind, this poll was taken in a linear order.  There’s a reason for this; it helps pollsters measure how ideas change peoples’ minds.  The poll took one more look at the Governor race:

Looking ahead to November’s election for governor one more time …

8. If you knew that Mark Dayton and Tom Horner are opposed to letting the people vote on the same-sex marriage issue, and Tom Emmer favors letting the people vote on the same-sex marriage issue, would you then vote for … (ALTERNATE READING 1-2-3 AND 2-1-3)

Tom Emmer, Republican……………… 44

Mark Dayton, DFL……………………. 33

Tom Horner, Independence Party…. 11

[UNDECIDED]………………………… 12

Now, it’s only 600 voters.  The margin of error is 4.1% either way.

But the overall impression – people want to decide the future of marriage themselves, even in “liberal”, “purple” Minnesota – is broad and unmistakeable.

And that’s why Nienstedt, his DVD, and his un-named mysterious donor are all public enemies-number-one for the regional left.

For my purposes, this election is about the economy, jobs and the role of government.  But same sex marriage is a sleeping giant of an issue throughout this state.

72 thoughts on “The Game-Changer

  1. Peg, do you think that I (or any of the other commenters on this thread) don’t know any gay people? I wrote earlier that this is not a matter of opinion based on ignorance, e.g. “bigotry”.
    I can make the argument against marriage using religious principles, using history, or, as Swiftee has done, by showing that it is not healthy for society. This means nothing when applied to individual cases; I know high-functioning alcoholics. This doesn’t mean that the state shouldn’t reward and encourage sobriety. If you want a state that doesn’t show an interest in the moral life of the nation, you are asking for something that has never been.
    I don’t believe that the proponents of same sex marriage realize how revolutionary most people see this issue. Marriage between middle aged men and thirteen year old girls? It’s been done and society survived. Marriage with multiple partners? Ditto. Marriage between same-sex couples? Even the ancient Greeks, who were much more accepting of homosexuality and had not a trace of Judeo-Christian monotheism in their religion, would have thought it was a joke.

  2. Peg,
    “Nevertheless, the state has allowed me – twice – to marry.”
    The state allowed you to marry? Really? I think you have placed your finger right on the problem.
    Where do our rights derive from?

  3. There are a whole host of rights and responsibilities in this world, Kermit. To which “rights” are you referring?

    If it is the right to marry in the state of Minnesota, then those who write the laws are the ones who determine whether it is legal for individuals to marry in the state – or not. What laws they pass are subject to review by the judicial system.

    If you think that I am incorrect – then from where do you think the right to marry derives?

  4. “All men are created equal, and are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, chief amongst these Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
    Rights ARE NOT granted by government. They can only be curtailed by government.

  5. Peg wrote:
    from where do you think the right to marry derives?
    From the Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    It continues . . .

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    This is not rocket science, Peg. RTFM.

  6. It also is not rocket science to know that the word “right” has many definitions. “Rights” found in natural law is one. The legal “right” to something is another.

    Obviously, there are a number of others.

  7. Let me try it this way, Peg.
    If the government gives me the right to drive a car or to collect a social security check, where does the government get its right to do those things? If it gets it from the constitution, how can the constitution — it is just a document, after all — be the source of the government’s power to hand out rights?

  8. Terry – you were the one who raised the issue of rights; not I.

    My point was that if it were against the law for people to marry if they either were not going to have children or could not have children, then I would not have been able to marry. But – all states in the U.S. do not have this requirement. Thus – stating that the child rearing is the primary reason for marriage in the 21st century does not seem accurate to me. At least – it is not reflected in marriage laws.

  9. I think that it was you (or Kermit) who brought up the question of “rights”, in regard to your statement that the state ‘allowed” you to marry.
    Marriage to a member of the opposite sex is a natural right, even if you and your spouse will not or cannot have children. Marriage to a person of the same sex is not a natural right.
    The state can “allow” any person to “marry” anyone or anything it wants to. The question is, where does this right to define and redefine marriage at will come from, if not natural law or consent of the governed?

  10. peg said:

    “My point was that if it were against the law for people to marry if they either were not going to have children or could not have children, then I would not have been able to marry.”

    And this is why it is a canard: the suggestion that it be “against the law for people to marry” if they won’t have kids exists only for this argument.

    “Thus – stating that the child rearing is the primary reason for marriage in the 21st century does not seem accurate to me. At least – it is not reflected in marriage laws.”

    Who cares what the “primary reason” is? It is the primary benefit.

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  12. The Author states: “There is not a single significant religion in the world that sanctions same-sex marriage.”

    Just curious as to why this validates anything. If my religion does sanction same sex marriage, but is not a “significant” religion, does that mean my beliefs are not valid and the government should be able to discriminate against my beliefs? By denying a marriage license based on my beliefs, the government is in fact suggesting that my beliefs are less valid than the “significant” beliefs of others.

    Furthermore, “swiftee” says “There is no benefit to society in rewarding same sex co-habitation. None. But there are plenty of negative costs.” Of course, swiftee offers no data to back it up. In fact, the opposite has been shown to be true. Allowing gays and lesbians to marry ensures that their children (25% of gay couples are raising children) enjoy the same protections and benefits as other children. Marriage leads to more stability and security for couples and helps insure that society will not need to care for people in their old age. Married people are less slightly likely to be promiscuous and are generally healthier. Married people are more productive at their jobs and increase the productivity of the nation. Marriage has been conclusively shown to increase wealth and decrease burdens on the state.

    Allowing gay couples to enjoy the benefits of marriage does not affect the ability of straight couples to marry. There are not a limited amount of marriage licenses. In fact, after 6 years of “gay marriage”, Massachusetts enjoys the lowest divorce rate in the nation. A recent study in Iowa found that 92% of people said that allowing gay couples to marry hasn’t impacted their lives at all (The other 8% probably saw a benefit).

    I have noticed quite a few people on this board falsely claiming that gays are going to force gay marriage on their churches. This is blatantly false. The first amendment insures that no church can be forced to recognize any marriage contradictory to their faith. In fact, there are still churches that refuse to marry interracial couples and the Catholic church always refuses to marry anyone that isn’t a Catholic. Churches are free, and will remain free, to discriminate against anyone based on their own religious beliefs. Suggestions otherwise are based on fear and reflect a distrust of gays and lesbians as “others” out to get them.

    I think it’s important to note that gays and lesbians are Americans too. They deserve the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else – they should be able to marry the person that they love.

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