A DFL source alerted us to the "Issues" page on the website of Jeff Backer, an MNGOP candidate for a House seat in a far western district currently represented by DFLer Jay McNamar.
Under the heading of "Traditional Marriage," Backer makes a strange case that rape and bigamy are illegal because they violate the "sanctity of marriage." But Backer says reading his argument in that way is a misinterpretation.
First off, here's the passage in question, with the controversial part coming at the end of the second paragraph:
We asked Backer to clarify what he means with his "Bigamy and rape are examples concerned with maintaining the sanctity of marriage" remark. After all, doesn't it make sense that rape is illegal regardless of whether a victim is married?
"Of course," he replies. "Neither are correct behaviors at all... It's a complete misinterpretation."
Backer grants that his reasoning might not be as crystal clear as he'd like, but he says he "tried his best" to explain his support of traditional marriage and his opposition to gay marriage.
"Our district supported traditional marriage at 63.8 percent," Backer says, referring to the 2012 marriage amendment vote. "There are different values throughout the state, and that's fair. When [McNamar] ran he said he was going to support traditional marriage too... where the family goes the nation will too."
Backer explains his traditional marriage position in terms of family values.
"The number-one reason is for children," he says. "I know great single parents, but from a government point of view, government needs to do everything it can to help the next generation, and children reared by a mother and father do have better outcomes."
Ironically in light of the point Backer is trying to make, studies indicate that children reared by same-sex parents actually do better than children in the general population. So if Backer really is concerned first and foremost about children, he doesn't present a very compelling case against gay marriage.
Then again, gay marriage opponents haven't exactly been known for the strength of their arguments at any point in time in recent years.