Five by 8 – 5/12/10: The return of the gay marriage issue

1) Same -sex marriage came roaring back into Minnesota’s political debate yesterday when three couples sued to overturn Minnesota’s ban on gay marriage. In the gubernatorial campaign four years ago, DFLers tried to derail the issue of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman by saying there’s already a law against same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Yesterday’s action shows why the constitutional amendment issue will be back shortly.

But there are at least five myths about homosexuality to be debunked in a scientific way and Live Science does that today. “Gay parents aren’t as good as a father and a mother” is one of them, according to the writer:

The bottom line is that the science shows that children raised by two same-gender parents do as well on average as children raised by two different-gender parents,” said Timothy Biblarz, a sociologist at the University of Southern California. “This is obviously inconsistent with the widespread claim that children must be raised by a mother and a father to do well.”

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby says the federal government has already decided what marriage means:

To be sure, an individual state is free to adopt an irregular definition of marriage — or anything else — for purposes of state law. But it doesn’t have a constitutional right to impose that definition on the rest of the nation. Massachusetts could decide to recognize martial-arts studios as institutions of higher education, and to make them eligible for state-subsidized education loans. Plainly, that anomalous definition of “higher education” would not be binding on the federal student loan program. By the same token, Massachusetts can decide (or be required by its supreme court) to treat same-sex partners as married spouses. But it can hardly insist that its definition of “married spouses” trumps that of the federal government and 45 other states.

2) Arizona is at the center of a racial firestorm, again. The governor has signed a law which bans ethnic studies in state schools. The bill says:

Prohibits public schools from including courses or classes, which promote the overthrow of the U.S. government or resentment towards a race or class of people, and specifies rules pertaining to pupil disciplinary proceedings are not to be based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry.

The job of the public schools is to develop the student’s identity as Americans and as strong individuals,” the state school’s chief said last year. “It’s not the job of the public schools to promote ethnic chauvinism.”

Courses about Native American history are excluded. They’re protected by federal law.

3) Take us to DEFCON-1, we’ve got a real crisis here. Intelsat has lost control of the satellite Galaxy 15. It might smash into another satellite. That satellite contains programming for cable TV.

4) Today’s timewaster: Strange signs from abroad.

5) You can have your kestrel that eats moths at Target Field. I’ll take the nearby animated face on the water tower.

Bonus: The sign man has a job!


A Philadelphia police officer used a stun gun last week against a teenager who ran onto the field during a Phillies game. In Minnesota, a complaint alleges that a man was shocked with a Taser after shouting at authorities in the Sherburne County jail. When is it appropriate to use a stun gun?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Author Laura Munson was married for a decade, and raising two children with her husband when he said he wanted out of the relationship. She has a surprising reaction to his request that she says actually kept her family together. (Originally aired on 4/28)

Second hour: Single at age 40, writer Lori Gottlieb started to wonder if looking for the perfect mate was the best approach to dating. Her new book chronicles her attempts to find Mr. “good enough.” (Originally aired on 2/12)

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Chris Farrell on the economy.

Second hour: Civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, speaking recently at the 50th anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin.

Second hour: New research shows that the family values divide between red states and blue

states is real, but there’s a paradox. The redder the state, the more traditional the family values, the higher the divorce rate, and the more teen pregnancies. There are differing interpretations as to why

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Tim Pugmire is tracking the budget debate at the Capitol.

Employers who provide health insurance to early retirees can begin applying for money under the new federal health care law next month. That program aims to encourage employers who provide such benefits to keep doing so. The $5 billion program will reimburse companies, state, local governments, and non-profits, a portion of the money they pay out in claims for their retirees. MPR’s health care reform reporter Elizabeth Stawicki will have the story.

From NPR: Wealthy students in the Middle East have long come to the United States for their college education. Nowadays, American universities are coming to them.

  • Alison

    Here’s my perspective on the gay marriage debate. In order to classify a marriage as gay or straight you need to define the gender of those involved as male or female. Seem pretty straightforward to you? It never does for me. When I hit that box on a form I don’t automatically check M or F. It always takes thought.

    So who can I marry? Someone whose genitals don’t match mine? Someone whose chromosomes don’t match mine? Of course if I have XXY, then what? Someone whose hormone levels are dissimilar from mine? Someone whose brain sex, who they think they are, is opposite of who I think I am? Someone who is identified as the opposite gender as me by other people who see us? If you think any of these factors automatically and absolutely correspoonds to any of the other factors you are mistaken. There are many people for whom some of these factors don’t seem to match (including chromosomes and genitals). So who can we marry? Can we marry at all? That’s my problem with the gay marriage debate. In order to have the debate people have to pretend that I don’t exist.

  • Jennifer

    Bob, do you know if the new AZ law states that this measure is only for elementary and high schools? Or does it just say “public schools”? If so, does that now jeopardize the various ethnic studies programs in state universities?

    Also, I’m very leary of any reactionary policy that seems to indicate that teaching about another group is nothing but animosity towards the majority group. It reminds me far too much of the Indian school policies that existed as the US sought to basically destroy an entire culture and way of life. It was based on the same theories: Don’t speak your language. Don’t practice your culture here, because that’s not what our country is about. Dress, talk, and act like us, because we have the superior culture.

    How far do you take this idea? Should we ban discussions on of slavery because it might show a negative side of our country’s history and incite animosity towards white people?

    It’s just so ambiguous. Who gets to determine whether or not something is promoting resentment towards a group of people? Couldn’t those who are in the eithnic group whose studies are now banned claim that be leaving out their history and focussing on another group’s legacy that is promoting a majority group focus and therefore resentment against them? How do you legally prove promotion of resentment in curriculum? It just seems like another law that no one is going to know how to follow or enforce.

    Education should always be about providing people with information, not keeping it from them.