Letters to the editor for June 1, 2012

Time to step up and file

To the Editor:

Do you have the willingness and ability to serve in public office? Now is the time to step up and file!

The 2012 election season officially got under way on Tuesday, May 22 with the opening of filings for offices that will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. Candidates can continue to file for office through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5.

This filing period is for those offices for which there will be a primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Offices for this filing period include all Minnesota Senate and House seats, five of the six seats on the Anoka County Board of Commissioners, three of five district supervisor positions on the Anoka County Soil and Water Conservation District, offices in local cities that have a primary system, judicial offices, and all U.S. Senate and Congressional seats.

For city and county offices, check with your respective local offices for further candidate filing information.

For state, federal and judicial offices, information is available from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.

The Secretary of State’s office is also hosting a statewide candidate filing page at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/

As the election season progresses, the local ABC League of Women Voters will schedule nonpartisan candidate forums so voters can listen, ask questions and compare candidates’ stands on issues.

We encourage all candidates to participate in these forums and we ask citizens, as well, to encourage the participation of their candidates.

To keep these candidate forums fair, at least two candidates for any given office must be present at a scheduled forum in order for the forum to take place.

In the last election cycle, two forums had to be canceled because not all candidates participated.  Democracy is better served when voters are informed.

Please join us in these goals of involved citizenship and informed voters.

Arlene Gillett and Geri Nelson
Voter service co-chairpersons, LWV ABC

 

Societal prejudices

To the Editor:

How will Janet and Angela, a loving, committed couple for 12 years, be impacted if the marriage amendment is written into Minnesota’s constitution? I’m really concerned about the inaccuracies and hurtful claims which have been put forth as reasons to vote for the amendment. I believe Minnesotans want and deserve accurate information.

Scientific research has led the medical and psychological community to recognize that gay, lesbian and bisexual orientations are normal sexual orientations. Aside from the pain and stress of discrimination, gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens of Minnesota lead productive, healthy and happy lives. Just as heterosexuals do.

They can form healthy, satisfying and committed relationships with another person of the same sex. My uncle Tom and uncle Jim recently celebrated 27 years of a steadfast and committed relationship.

Committed relationships between same-sex partners are similar in other ways to marriages between heterosexual partners. Studies consistently show that “the development, adjustment and well-being of children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents” (American Psychological Association).

Like other minority groups, gay and lesbian people are often subject to discrimination and violence, including bullying in schools and social media. Damage from the stigma can cause the same stress and resulting physical and psychological issues that are somewhat higher in most minority groups.

Denying civil marriage to our gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens reinforces outdated societal prejudices. It can hurt people who just want to love each other and live in the same way heterosexual spouses love and live. Lack of access to marriage even produces an average economic disadvantage of more than $400,000 for a family.

In a pluralistic democracy, religious authorities have every right to perform or deny religious marriage ceremonies as they choose. But denying civil marriage to citizens, based strictly on sexual orientation, imposes the religious views of some onto each and every citizen; whether a citizen adheres to Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism or no religion. I can’t look my uncles in the eye and tell them they are inferior and second class citizens because I know better. Lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens are good, bad and in between just like any slice of Minnesotans. If you take the time to get to know them, I can guarantee you will learn the same.

Many inaccurate and inflammatory claims have been spread on this important issue. I believe we deserve accurate information in order to make informed public decisions.

Minnesota already has an unjust law against same-sex marriage. Let’s not put that discrimination in our Constitution too!

Dan Rebek
Coon Rapids

 

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