Perhaps the most touching letter for Bluestem comes from our friend Pat Kubly of Granite Falls. Widow of the quiet, thoughtful and much missed Gary Kubly, Pat is a valued member of the larger community of the Upper Minnesota River Valley and the prairie beyond, a classic pastor's wife who is also a smart cookie in her own right when it comes to organizing.
In today's West Central Tribune, her letter, Following Kubly’s example:
Staying true to what I learned from my husband, Gary Kubly, when he was in the Legislature, I will be voting no on both constitutional amendments on the ballot this November.
The voter ID amendment will be an easy no. This is an expensive fix for a problem that is very uncommon in Minnesota. Contrary to all the hype, there was no evidence of fraud that would have changed the outcome in the close Senate race that was won by Al Franken. Gary learned this from a justice (Republican appointee) on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
If the amendment passes it will be an expensive burden which would fall heavily on rural counties and especially townships. In addition it will hardest to implement for the elderly, the disabled, college students and the poor. Do we want to deprive these people of their right to vote?
The marriage amendment is not so easy. As a Lutheran pastor, Gary voted for the Defense of Marriage bill in the late 1990s. This put the traditional definition of marriage into Minnesota law.
However in the years that followed, Gary saw this issue become completely politicized by groups spreading hate and fear. Threatening e-mails and nasty phone calls were not uncommon. Hateful signs at rallies at the Capitol were a shocking sight.
The issue has been used to divide people rather than to promote the sanctity of marriage. As Gary said after much soul-searching about this, “I will never vote to put hate on the Minnesota constitution.” Following his example, I too will vote no.
Gary’s hope would be that people come together in dialogue. We need much more peaceful dialogue before we pass amendments such as these.
I was at the Renville County DFL Convention in 2006 when Gary told his supporters he could no longer support the Marriage Amendment because of the hatefulness he had seen. Rather that getting angry with him, they gave him a standing ovation.
Over in the Mankato Free Press, the former mayor of Montgomery, Mick McGuire, writes in Proposed amendments the most important issues:
Recently, I was asked what I thought were the most important issues in this fall’s election. Without hesitation, my response was the two proposed amendments to our state’s constitution.
Both represent the failure of our legislature; both propose severe measures to solve problems that don’t even exist; and one seeks to forever enshrine discrimination in our state’s most fundamental document.
Passing laws by repeatedly amending the state constitution is simply the worst possible way of governing. The amendment process is too often used as a tool by which desperate and incompetent legislatures manipulate the system to enact extreme and divisive legislation. They have failed to pass these measures into law by ordinary means, and are now attempting this end-run maneuver to have them written into our constitution.
This is simply a failure by our legislature to govern. . . .
In a hard-fought 2010 state house race, McGuire lost to Sibley County anti-sodomy crusader Glenn Gruenhagen, but redistricting prevented a rematch. McGuire's father served in the state house and senate in the 1960s.
In the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, DFL activist Rea Sasseville writes in Remember to vote no twice on Nov. 6:
The two constitutional amendments appearing on your ballot on Nov. 6 are a disgrace to the state of Minnesota and should be voted down.
The first one, the Marriage Amendment, should be turned down because the amendment is just plain wrong for this state.
Minnesota is not a state of discrimination. We are a state of inclusion, not exclusion. For us to put a purely discriminatory law into our Constitution is just not Minnesotan. . . .
The second amendment on the ballot is called the Voter ID Amendment. This is so poorly written that for that reason alone it should be stricken down and forgotten about.
At the very least it should be voted down and sent back to the legislature to be written more clearly and spelled out exactly how it is to work, who is to pay for it and how, and then bring it back to the voters if they choose.
Right now, we don’t know how it would be implemented. We only know that the cost of implementing it will be on the backs of cities and counties that can ill afford it without significantly raising our property taxes. . . .
Finally, the Forum Communications chain appears to have come out against both amendments. We read yesterday's editorial in the Duluth News Tribune, Our view: Vote no on Minnesota marriage, voter ID amendments; wrong way to legislate, as a stand alone piece.
But the DL Online (Detroit Lakes Tribune) doesn't appear to tailor today's editorial, Tribune Endorsement - Vote ‘no’ on marriage, Voter ID:
Minnesota’s constitution demands respect and reverence for the important document it is.
Constitutions are all about the structuring of government; they offer overall guiding principles and framework to help make sure our rulers don’t trample on our personal rights and liberties. They’re big-picture documents.
Also, constitutions don’t change, generally speaking, so Founders are careful about what to include in them.
Minnesota voters on Nov. 6 can be just as careful with the state’s constitution. They can vote “no” on a pair of ballot questions that aren’t as constitutional as they are legislative, as they are matters more appropriate for our lawmakers’ careful deliberations and decisions.
Changes to the constitution should be rare and under special circumstances. They’ve been made that way since Minnesota’s constitution was adopted in 1857.
Neither the marriage amendment nor the voter ID amendment rise to the level of constitutional consideration.
So how did they get on next month’s ballot?
In an effort to circumnavigate Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto, lawmakers used constitutional amendments to create legislation — as opposed to building a larger base of support from fellow legislators that would better ensure a governor’s signature — or, when necessary, override a veto.
Both the marriage and voter ID issues scream for more conversation at the Legislature, not quick and uninformed passage by voters in next month’s election. . . .. . .Like many in Minnesota, Forum Communications doesn’t endorse same-sex marriage. But that doesn’t mean disapproval belongs in our constitution.
Minnesota’s constitution demands respect and reverence for the important document it is. Misusing it to pass laws when appropriate channels prove unsuccessful cheapens it. And who in Minnesota wouldn’t vote “no” on that?
— Forum Communications
Read the whole thing online. Other than the Fairmont Sentinel, Bluestem doesn't know of a newspaper endorsing the voter restriction amendment. With that exception (and there may be more), editors and publishers across the state are reviewing the evidence and suggesting to readers that they vote no and send it back.
Moreover, a growing wave of newspapers online are recommending that voters say no on the marrige amendment as well.
Some Republicans aren't getting it though, to the point where they publicly engage in the sort of divisive behavior that so annoys the editors and publishers. Take Al DeKriuf's tweeted response to a Bluestem post. One would think that the guy didn't know that he personally had voted to put both amendments on the ballot. After seeing a tweet for St. Cloud Times urges Minnesotans to vote no twice; cites "epic failure" of voter restriction supporters to explain what's up with that he snarked. Fortunately, there's a way to correct the record, and link to the source the retiring state senator distorts:Send it back op-ed & letters opposing voter restriction flood Greater MN newspapers Cows, colleges and content: a look at how the voter restriction amendment will crimp students More rural opinion pages heap scorn on vague, time-wasting voter restriction amendment Can Greater Minnesota afford the unfunded mandate that is the photo ID amendment?