Today's editorial at the Winona Daily News wonders who's raising the question about gay marriage that local legislators The Draz, Greg "I Hate Bike Parking" Davids and Jeremy Miller are too chicken to take responsibility for answering.
There has been a poll taken, asking the question, that the MNGOP legislators wave around. But the Minnesota Independent's intrepid blond greyhound Andy Birkey has been keeping an eye on that bird, as he reports in Details scant on marriage amendment poll touted by GOP.
In short, the WDN editorial board is spot on by questioning the question.
Writing for the board, editor Darrell Ehrlick begins in Lawmakers answering a question no one is asking:
Chicken. It’s not nice to call names, but what other word is there that describes it? Spineless? Pandering? Mean? Are those any better?
Reps. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa and Greg Davids, R-Preston, as well as Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, are chickens.
They’ve ducked any responsibility for terrible legislation and tried pinning it on the voters of Minnesota.
The issue: Writing an amendment into the Minnesota Constitution that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
In other words, a ban on gay marriage.
These weak Republican politicians have tried to convince constituents that they’re merely trying to let the voters decide the question.
But the voters weren’t asking for this question.
Where’s the outcry for the voters to decide this issue?
(Insert silence here.)
We’d suggest the only people clamoring to settle the gay-marriage issue are the fringe conservatives who would rather cloak their bigotry by self righteousness, making the bogus argument that two people marrying somehow threatens the institution marriage itself. . . .
Read the rest of the editorial, as feisty and fine as the WDN's editorials tend to be. No bland, voice-of-institutional-reason opinionating down on the Big River media in Winona.
So who are these fringe conservatives and how are they asking the question--and in such a way as to give cover to goat prairie chickens in the southeast corner of the state?
A recent poll finds that a majority of Minnesotans want to vote on whether to put an amendment to ban gay marriage in the Minnesota Constitution, but the groups touting the survey are remaining mum about the poll’s details. The data has been used by testifiers in committees in support of banning gay marriage, by Republicans at Capitol press conferences and by interest groups to the media. It was commissioned by the Minnesota Family Council and the National Organization for Marriage — two groups that oppose relationship rights for same-sex couples — and was conducted by Lawrence Research, whose president is a Mormon organizer who worked to pass Prop 8 in California.
Neither the Minnesota Family Council nor the National Organization for Marriage responded to requests by the Minnesota Independent to see the polling data, and Lawrence Research said it could not release polling data that was purchased by an outside group.
Lawrence Research is run by Gary Lawrence, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the grassroots director of Project Marriage, a group that helped halt gay marriage in California’s contentious Prop 8 initiative campaign.
According to State of California records, Lawrence research was paid $528,877.35 from gay marriage opponents in 2007 and 2008.
Birkey cites other polls in Minnesota for which the details are available, with somewhat different results:
A Hubert H. Humphrey Institute poll in October of last year showed that 49 percent of Minnesotans opposed same-sex marriage compared to 41 percent who supported it. In that poll, 64 percent of Minnesotans said they would support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The poll shows most Minnesotans were opposed to gay marriage by 49-41 percent, but 64 percent of Minnesotans across the categories favor civil unions for same-sex couples, which grant many of the same rights as marriage.
A 2009 Star Tribune poll found that only 33 percent of Minnesotans wanted a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, 35 percent said leave it to the courts, and 25 percent backed legalizing same-sex marriage.
One older poll, from 2006, was in line with the NOM poll, Birkey writes, but other polls taken this year in other states are finding support for same-sex marriages or civil unions.
And that MFC/NOM poll didn't ask itself. Someone contributed money to NOM that helps it walk into a partnership with the Minnesota Family Council and ask the questions.
However, Minnesotans don't know who is supporting NOM in the manner to which it is accustomed, and Common Cause is on that, as Birkey reported in Complaint: Nat’l Organization for Marriage, Family Council violated lobbying laws.
Check it out about how they're sneaking around to avoid answering questions about who is paying the bills:
When the National Organization for Marriage and the Minnesota Family Council spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads promoting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions last fall, the groups should have reported those expenditures, according to a complaint filed with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board earlier this month. The complaint, which focuses on ads launched throughout the 2010 campaign cycle in support of gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, asks for financial penalties as well as an audit of NOM’s spending in Minnesota.
The filing by Common Cause Minnesota alleges that the Minnesota Family Council — and in particular its lobbyist, Tom Prichard — failed to report lobbying expenses related to several ads. Since the ad urged the public and legislators to act on legislation, in this case a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, it constitutes lobbying, the group argues in the complaint. The ads in question include references to an actual bill, SF120, and were created and distributed in partnership with NOM. . . .
Read the whole thing at the Minnesota Independent. Who's asking the question? Who's paying for the polling?