Over at Thug in Pastels, Javier Morillo-Alicea examines “Minnesotans for Marriage” and The Unbearable Victimhood of Vote Yes, pretty much shoeing the group's one-trick rhetorical pony:
“In civil society, marriage’s essential public purpose is about providing kids with what they need — both a mom and a dad. Marriage is a reality that unites a man and a woman and any children born from their union. While there are many types of loving relationships, marriage is more.”
Got that, single parents? Got that, people who marry later in life, or who decide not to have children? Got that, people who would love children but are physically unable? Got that, people who adopt children? Your marriages are less.
But careful pointing that out to our friends at Minnesotans for Meddling in Other People’s Marriages. They’re allowed to judge you. They put this harmful amendment on the ballot. They are judging not just gay people but anyone in any family that doesn’t look like Leave it to Beaver. But they’re allowed to do that.
Because they’re the real victims here.
That's the message now being shared by some amendment supporters writing letters to the editors of Greater Minnesota papers, only it's not quite so nice.
Vote sign vandalism
Neither is the vandalism reported at Lutheran-affiliated Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. GAC Weekly copy editor Rebecca Hare reports today in Students hold conversation workshops on respectful dialogue:
Shortly after 10:30 the night of Sunday, Sept. 9, a “Vote No” poster hanging in an apartment window was vandalized on the Gustavus campus. “Vote No” has been the slogan adopted by those in opposition to the newly proposed marriage amendment that will appear on the ballot this upcoming November. The incident stunned and shocked the victims of the vandalism because it seemed out of character for a community with a reputation for warmth and friendliness.
“It was very rude, and I was surprised it would happen at Gustavus because we’re such a welcoming community,” one of the students whose poster was targeted said.
Senior Political Science major Eric Halvorson has reason to comment on the vandalism as well. After an internship this summer with Minnesotans United for All Families—a coalition opposed to the marriage amendment—Halvorson took it upon himself to bring the core message of the program to the Gustavus community in the form of Conversation Workshops.
“By refocusing a political issue on the personal issue that it really is, Conversation Workshops focus on engaging citizens in respectful discussion,” Halvorson said.
His response to the incident was disappointment in an opportunity lost for this type of respectful interaction. “This is hurtful to people on any side of the issue. It is not respectful, constructive dialogue,” he said.
And there's this turning-of-the-other cheek in the Morris Sun Times' letter to the editor, Invitation to a conversation on gay marriage:
In recent days, numerous signs supporting gay marriage in Minnesota have been stolen or vandalized in Morris. This, of course, is a violation of our Constitutional right to free speech as Americans, but it is also an act of incivility that I have rarely seen in Morris. While I am frustrated that some are trampling on our rights as Americans, I am writing this in all sincerity in order to initiate what I hope will be an important conversation. . . .
M4M condemned "Garbage" arguments
Earlier this year, the twitter and Facebook accounts of M4M director Andy Parrish and M4M were hacked, with prompting curious response from Parrish when he regained control of the social media tools, as City Pages Aaron Rupar explained:
. . .a hacker hijacked Minnesota for Marriage's Facebook account and posted the following passage from Leviticus 20:13: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
In the wake of the hacking, Minnesota for Marriage spokesman Andy Parrish took to Twitter and called the passage "garbage." . . .
But the group hadn't always thought that, as Rupar continued:
We noted that Parrish's denunciation of Leviticus sounded curiously like something Dan Savage would say, and today, Bluestem Prairie's Sally Jo Sorensen dredged up more evidence that Parrish's "garbage" remark isn't consistent with views Minnesota for Marriage publicly expressed in the past.
Last October, Minnesota for Marriage characterized an Austin Daily Herald letter to the editor touting Leviticus' view of homosexuality as a "great letter."
Recycling the garbage
So what's with the "garbage" slant showing up in pro-amendment letters? Check out the drift in a sampling drawn from newspapers across the state. In the New Ulm Journal, there's More on marriage amendment:
. . .Yes, homosexuality does exist in our society, but it absolutely is not normal! It is unnatural to have sex with a same sex person; and is an abomination in the sight of God, our Creator! . . .
And in the Bemidji Pioneer, there's Excuses won’t save us from God’s wrath:
In response to Mr. Monge (Sept. 8), I hear excuses for homosexuals and sin. God told us it’s a sin and an abomination. Who should we believe, man’s excuses or God’s word?
Jesus was sent “not to change God’s law but to fulfill it.” He became the sacrifice. Believe in him, confess our sins and be forgiven. He said, “Go and sin no more.” To keep on sinning against the law and God’s judgment, as posted in Leviticus, will fall on us. No amount of excuses would save us.
Need more? From the Duluth News Tribune, Male-female hormones unite in God’s harmonious balance:
God, or nature, compliments the male hormones with the female hormones, bringing harmony, which the children react to, balancing their sexual development toward heterosexuality. More children are being raised by people other than their own parents, depriving them of normal bonding and sexual development. Most of these parents are too busy indulging in selfish pleasures and conceiving unwanted children and then expect grandparents and government to care for them. Society suffers from their angry, emotionally unstable offspring who’ve never known love from a mother and a father. This leads them into unhealthy and perverted lifestyles as they seek the love and acceptance their parents deprived them of, including hating and not wanting children or marrying but mainly for sexual relationships with no commitment. . . .
Take that, adopted kids! Single moms! In the Crookston Times, the Rev. Chuck Huck drives it home in Children need a mother and father--but not just any mom and dad, that biological pair:
By encouraging men and women to marry, society helps ensure that children will be known by and cared for by their biological parents. Simply stated, while death and divorce too often prevent it, children need both a mother and a father. This is why I am supporting the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment in November 2012.
After years of encouraging adoption over abortion, some church folk sure have rushed to reject the notion of kids being raised by anyone other than biological parents. Orphans? To the poor farm!
And what an effrontery, what an injury to sense and sensibility, that words and customs might change. A oppressed reader of the West Central Tribune writes in Marriage means marriage:
To those who oppose the marriage amendment: Has it ever occurred to you that many who support the amendment support it because to them “marriage” has always meant the union of a man and a woman?
Should black be diluted to mean black as well as yellow? Should Chevrolet Impala be corrupted to mean all of those as well as Ford Crown Victorias? . . .
Okay then. Who can argue with that logic? What torture that would be, indeed.
And there's the woeful letter in the New Ulm Journal, Vote ‘NO’ messages hurtful:
Let me tell everyone what else you really said!
You've said to me, "You're rigid," "You're a bigot," "You're insensitive," "You're mean," "You're stupid," "You're a homophobe," and other things that can't be printed.
While this individual has her talking points down--that by talking to someone about voting no, we're oppressing her, calling her a bigot, "stalking" her--a grain of truth seeded that propagandistic pearl. To simply called somone who is uncomfortable with same sex marriage a bigot, without any additional evidence on the part of the other person, doesn't particularly move the conversation along.
Hence, Minnesotans United For All Families' focus on respectful conversation, and empathy when signs are destroyed.
The dynamics of victimhood at the ballot box
So why why does Parrish and Company play the victim and evoke a sense of injured merit that would make even Milton's most moving literary character blush?
Call it the Vote Yes Conundrum. They must protest so much about being called bigots, that they're being oppressed, because, as the letters show -- the part of their base that is most excited is excited in ways that are kind of mean and, well, bigoted.M4M's most excited supporters can't help themselves. They keep writing letters citing scripture that Andy Parrish called "garbage." And hence, the need for the distraction, the nurturing of the sense of injured merit. Victims, all--nevermind the overflow of the recycling bins.
Photo: Vandalized sign in Bloomington, CBS Minnesota.