Our View: 'Yes' for Klobuchar, 'no' for marriage amendment
For six years, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the first Minnesota woman ever elected to the Senate, has stood strong with jobs-hungry Minnesotans and with jobs-producing Minnesota businesses. She consistently has been in our corners. On Nov. 6, voters who are eager like she is for our nation to "move forward" again can be in her corner, re-electing her and sending her back to Washington to continue to work and to fight on our behalf.
Her first term in D.C. has been filled with working and fighting -- and successes. Like bringing broadband to rural Minnesota. And curbing excessive price speculation in oil markets, something that artificially drives up gas prices. And encouraging international tourism by shortening the excessively long time it takes for foreign travelers to receive U.S. tourist vistas. That effort is a potential boon as foreign tourists are estimated to drop $5,000 or more every time they travel to the United States.
In addition, Sen. Klobuchar has worked effectively with Minnesota's other representatives in Washington. She has been on the front lines at the federal level in what has become a national struggle against dangerous synthetic drugs. She supported legislation to make sure deployed Minnesota guardsmen fighting overseas received days off and other benefits they were promised on their return; the benefits were threatened mid-deployment.
And just this year, Klobuchar and others sponsored a bill to address security concerns in smaller, more-rural courthouses in response to a courthouse shooting in Grand Marais in December.
"That is how I've looked at my job," she said. "It's real results for real people."
Klobuchar's Republican opponent is Kurt Bills, a straight-talking city councilor and high school economics teacher from Rosemount.
"This isn't an Amy vs. Kurt thing. This is an America vs. D.C. thing. Our country is so out of equilibrium right now," Bills said recently. "We have to send an independent voice (to Washington), somebody who has looked into the eyes of kids for 15 years and answered their questions."
Like Klobuchar, Bills talks about a way forward. His includes an unspecified "great compromise."
Hers includes an educational system that fills the jobs of tomorrow. And it includes fiscal stability.
How? "You have to make sure you bring the debt down in a balanced way," she said. "It's going to take sacrifice from everybody. It's going to take spending cuts, but it's also going to take comprehensive tax reform and looking at it in a way where we actually bring the business rates down so we encourage business development in Minnesota. ... And it finally means looking at red tape, rules and regulations in a very thoughtful way."
Reject 'marriage' amendment
Most Minnesotans define marriage as between one man and one woman. Most churches do, too. State law, in fact, defines marriage this way. Traditional marriage is the societal norm.
But the Nov. 6 vote on the proposed "marriage amendment" isn't about society, religion or personal conviction. The vote is about amending the Minnesota Constitution to deny rights to citizens who aren't heterosexual.
The so-called marriage amendment could more appropriately be labeled the "constitutional divorce" amendment: Citizens are being urged and even incited to go violate their state Bill of Rights.
The state Bill of Rights Article 1, Section 2 begins:
No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.
Therefore a "yes" vote on Election Day will be a rejection of equal rights. And passage would be a tragic break in this state's tradition of amending its Constitution to extend or confirm rights. Instead, we would limit rights or take them away.
For constitutional reasons alone, Minnesotans should soundly reject the proposed amendment.
There are other reasons as well. Economics is one.
Gays and lesbians work just as hard as heterosexuals do; they have just as many talents and gifts. Why pass a constitutional amendment that could drive talented individuals to live and work elsewhere? Making the attracting and hiring of diverse individuals is not good for job and could hinder economic opportunities for all Minnesotans.
There also may be the potential that, if the amendment passes, that zealots could interpret it to mean employers -- private and government -- that other family benefits to domestic partners do so in violation of the Constitution.
Large companies such as Xcel Energy and Medtronic extend benefits to domestic partners because they've learned it's good business. Minnesota businesses already have enough regulations and distractions with which to contend.
Citizens in some other states have condoned misusing their constitutions to allow a special interest group to erode citizens' rights. Do Minnesotans want to pervert their primary governing document -- the Minnesota Constitution -- to impose one group's religious, personal or societal beliefs on the citizenry? We hope not.
This endorsement reflects the opinion of Forum Communications Co.