During a debate with her DFL challenger last Thursday, Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, tried to explain her opposition to gay marriage.
I say "tried to" because her explanation was a stammering mess. Nonetheless, the thread of an anti-gay marriage argument emerged, and it goes something like this: Gayness isn't normal, therefore gay marriage should remain illegal.
[jump] Franson also expressed concern that if the marriage amendment is defeated, Minnesota's public schools might follow Massachusetts' alleged practice of indoctrinating students to (gasp!) accept homosexuality as something normal.
On the other hand, in an answer perhaps reflecting the conservatism of the Alexandria House district, Franson's DFL challenger -- retired public school teacher Bob Cunniff -- avoided taking a stance on the marriage amendment. He instead urged voters to "pray to God to make the right decision for themselves" and said he's content "let the chips fall as they may" on November 6. What leadership!
Here's a transcription of the Franson-Cunniff marriage amendment exchange, followed by the raw footage (the marriage discussion begins at 14:00):
Franson: Marriage has been around since the beginning of time, since Adam and Eve. You know, under current state law it is illegal for a man and a man or a female and a female to get married. It is currently under statue [sic], marriage is between one man and one woman. The constitutional amendment doesn't change anything that is in state law. All it does is give the voters a chance to decide how they want to define marriage. How do they see marriage? Two years ago, I stood on this stage and I said before the viewers that I support traditional marriage as defined between one man and one woman.
You know, I just think there are also consequences if this bill is passed-- I'm sorry, there could be some consequences if the bill does not pass, the amendment does not pass-- if it were to fail there could be some consequences. My concerns are that our children in our schools could be taught some liberal agendas because of the marriage amendment. Because in the schools they may be taught... ah... that, this is normal behavior. I personally do not believe it is. But I also believe in the choice and I firmly support marriage between one man and one woman.
Cunniff: I'm gonna leave it to the voters. Whoever goes into the booth, they need to pray to God to make the right decision for themselves. [I'm content letting] the chips fall as they may...
When I was a kid "gay" meant happy. I don't think the schools go around -- at least, I can only speak in the elementary level -- schools don't go around and talk about those kinds of things and try to influence people in their way of thinking in that respect.
Franson: I do think it's sad [that my opponent is] not willing to come out and say to the voters -- to his possible constituents -- where he actually does stand on a very important issue in our district. Massachusetts, as a matter of fact, right after the 2003 court ruling [legalizing gay marriage] there was a school-wide assembly celebrating same-sex marriage. Then, and a few months later, the middle school was celebrating same-sex marriage. And a year after that bill passed, schools went as far as elementary children having celebrations of the same-sex marriage, of gay pride. School books in Massachusetts, also in the libraries had this issue as normalizing it for our young children. And that's something that I wish to protect our children from. I believe if there is talk about it, it should come from parents and not the education system.
Cunniff: [Another issue is] how far do you want to go with government, too?
Hat-tip: Bluestem Prairie's Sally Jo Sorensen