Setting the record straight on gay marriage history
The story about a recent dismissal of a gay marriage suit in the U.S. District Court contains factual errors.
In 1972—not 1976—the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Minnesota’s
refusal to issue a marriage license to two persons of the same sex. After the
Hennepin County Attorney informed the Court that we had already obtained a license
in Mankato, and urged the Court to dismiss our appeal as moot, the Court complied.
Its use of standard terminology—“dismissed for want of a substantial
federal question”—sets no legal precedent.
was the U.S. District Court, not the Minnesota Supreme Court, that “slapped
them down” when we applied for Veterans benefits in 1976. The late Judge
Earl Larson said the laws governing the Veterans Administration do not allow benefits
for same-sex couples.
Perhaps because the laws governing the IRS are different, he then approved our
request for a separate lawsuit against the IRS. I made the decision to postpone
that lawsuit. Both the courts and the country needed time to deal sensibly with
the concept of same-sex marriage.
The complaint recently dismissed by Judge Ericksen was filed in May 2004, not
2003. It is the case that was approved by Judge Larson. In her order, Judge Ericksen
said the complaint should be treated “as if it were filed” in 1976.
We believe that Judge Ericksen’s view of the law is incorrect. The U.S.
Constitution does not allow a complaint to be dismissed when all parties admit
that it was never previously filed and no one has ever had an opportunity to be
heard on either the facts or the law. For that reason, we will appeal her order
to the court of last resort.
For an accurate history of same-sex marriage in Minnesota, go to May-18-1970.org.
Why would I want to pay for whitewater park?
Your Jan. 5-11 cover story on mass-media-missed stories was impressive. Thanks
for getting that out there.
However, the article on the proposed downtown whitewater park, also in that
issue, cast the project in a romantic, misleading light.
“Group pushes downtown rafting” sourced only whitewater park proponents
and described the project as an effort to “restor[e] a small part of the
river to its original form.”
Sure, there was whitewater along this stretch of the river pre-dams. But, if
nature had had its way, they’d be gone by now. Engineers built the concrete
apron that is St. Anthony Falls today to halt their up-river retreat. Left to
their “original”/natural progression, the falls would’ve relaxed
into a far flatter flow as they exhausted the last of the limestone cap and
hit the more consistent, sandy and falls-resistant river bottom just north of
where the apron/falls stand today.
And how is a floodgate-controlled faux creek/Olympic-level whitewater-rafting
course more “natural” than the dam across the river? (The same dam
that would protect the proposed park from flooding.)
Proponents of the project also make a case that the whitewater park will revitalize
an under-appreciated area in need of financial assistance, some $26 million
worth. From the MWPD website: “St. Anthony Falls area near downtown Minneapolis
once drew settlers, visitors, writers, and artists from around the world. Today
this site lies unused and unnoticed.”
Huh? Lupe Development is poised to turn the parking lot adjacent to the proposed
park site into yet another high-end condo village. Local amenities include St.
Anthony Main, the Stone Arch Bridge, Mill City Museum and the Guthrie-in-progress.
Why would I pitch in (via taxes) for a playground for U of M students (whom
the project VP described as the park’s “primary users”
in a Minnesota Daily article)? Or to “revitalize” an area where
condos are worth more than my house?
Actually, I might be open to it. After the public foots the construction bill,
the park will be operated as a public-private partnership. As it is, the whitewater
course is designed to cover its own operating costs. Why not go for a solid
Maybe the thrill-seekers riding the state-sponsored waves could pitch in an
extra buck on their user fees to help the ones they competed against for state
dollars to make ends meet? Maybe they could buy the city a cop for a crime-ridden
neighborhood, or help the county re-open the downtown overflow homeless shelter?
If there is a direct, guaranteed city or county benefit—beyond increased
commerce in a burgeoning area and hosting kayaking events—I’d
like to read about it. (You can already kayak or canoe the river; and the creation
of a park, nature center or nature programming isn’t contingent upon a
pricey water park.)
In the meantime, I find it interesting that proponents are asking folks to copy
Mayor Rybak on their pro-sports-park-funding letters to the state legislature.
Apparently, I’m not the only one yet to be convinced.
We should be building clean energy instead of a dirty war
When we should be scrambling to build clean, safe renewable energy technology
and put in place a serious conservation program to reduce the amount of cancerous
filth and greenhouse gasses we produce, we are doing the opposite.
Eisenhower said it best: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger
and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
And at this time in our history it is a theft of our security, our breathable
air, our future and our dreams. It is a theft from all, rich and poor, young
and old, born, unborn and reborn.