Several legislators who want to ‘protect marriage’ are divorced, records indicate

In testimony before Minnesota Senate and House committees last week, religious leaders and representatives from religious right organizations cited single-parent families and a skyrocketing divorce rate as reasons to protect marriage from being redefined to include same-sex couples by “activist judges” and “handfuls of legislators.” And GOP members rebuffed efforts by DFLers to include a ban on divorces in a proposed ban on gay marriage. However, a number of the legislators who say they want to protect marriage appear to have been divorced.

The Minnesota Family Council, a main proponent of the anti-gay marriage amendment, calls the effort to pass the amendment “protecting marriage” and organized testimony at the Minnesota Capitol in favor of bringing the issue to the ballot in 2012. The testifiers, who were all affiliated with religious denominations or groups, often said that divorce greatly weakened marriage and that same-sex marriage would spell its death knell.

Bishop John Quinn of the Diocese of Winona lamented the “high rates of fatherlessness” in American society and the “unfair burden of parenting alone” as reasons to protect marriage from gay and lesbian couples.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage said, “Previous generations of social experimenters have caused unimaginable misery for millions of people. Particular people advocated the policies that led to today’s 50 percent divorce rate and 40 percent out-of-wedlock childbearing rate. None of these people has ever been held accountable,” she said.

On the amendment to bar gay marriage, she said, “Something this significant should not be rammed down the throats of an unwilling citizenry by judges. Let the people vote.”

But several legislators who want voters to ban gay marriage have had unsuccessful marriages.

According to a name, date of birth, and city search in publicly available Minnesota court records, Sen. Pam Wolf, R-Spring Lake Park, was divorced in 2000. She’s a sponsor of the Senate version of the bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage and voted to pass the bill in the Senate last week.

Alexandria Republican Rep. Mary Franson’s divorce earlier this year was reported on a liberal website, and records with the Minnesota court system match the name listed as her husband’s on her legislator biography page. She’s a sponsor of the House version of the bill.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, was divorced in 1994. In his first bid for office, the DFL attacked him when he tried to get his child support order reduced. He’s a sponsor of the House version of the bill.

The campaign website of Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, notes his divorce. He’s not a sponsor of the anti-gay marriage amendment, but he was in the last session.

Court records matched the name, date of birth and city of Rep. Doug Wardlow, R-Eagan, for a divorce in 2005. In a roll call vote in the House Civil Law Commitee, Wardlow voted in favor of the amendment.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, is legally separated from his wife, which was revealed last November when he was stopped by the police in a Planned Parenthood parking lot with a gun in his vehicle looking for a woman he found on the Internet. He was among the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee that passed the amendment by a voice vote.

Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, is listed as divorced on her legislator biography page. Her divorce occurred in 2010, years after she voted to force a marriage amendment bill out of committee and onto the floor in 2006 and with then state Sen. Michele Bachmann in 2004. Rosen also was among the Republicans in the Senate who voted for the amendment last week.

Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, attempted to change the amendment so that if Minnesotans were to protect marriage from same-sex couples, they were also protecting marriage from divorce. She offered an amendment to the GOP measure that would define marriage as “one union” of one man and one woman valid in Minnesota, and when the GOP turned that down she offered an amendment that defined marriage as one man and one woman “for life.” That failed as well.

“If we are going to define marriage in the constitution, and the concern is that same-sex couples would create an unstable environment for children and would be wrong, then we should be able to say that marriage should be once in your life. Once married, that’s the only chance you get in Minnesota,” she said. “I think what that vote proved is that it isn’t an issue of how sacred marriage is. It’s an issue of discrimination.”

The Minnesota Family Council, despite organizing testimony to protect marriage, lined up Newt Gingrich to headline its fundraiser on Tuesday. Gingrich has been married three times; the first two marriages ended after he committed adultery with women who would become his second and third wives.

Comments

40 Comments

John I
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 8:57 amHmmmmm, hypocrisy in politics?? Never thought it would happen.


wayne
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 9:37 am…..according to the recent data released by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Nevada and Arkansas, both states which ban gay marriage, have the highest divorce rates in the US. Get this……Mass and Iowa, both of which permit gay marriage have the lowest divorce rates. So much for gay marriage threatening hetero marriage!!!!


Seed
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 9:50 amThis is just the very beginning, the opening volleys, of how ugly and how very personal this fight is going to become. And to what end? Even supporters of the amendment admit that social attitudes are shifting. So why focus now on trying to solidify something that will be undone in a matter of years if it even passes and will be seen as a dark time for our state? There are for more important matters for our legislators to be spending their time on.


Daniel Hinkley
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 10:09 amThe only thing that Minnesotans will enshrine in their constitution if this passes is shame. The State also had one of the last public lynchings in America. Forgiveness will be much less easy to come by this time around.


Wendy Leigh
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 10:30 amMy dog has more charactor than these Republican “Maggie Gallagher” hypocrites. I think we need to amend the Constitution to “protect” us from them actually. I’d like to see a piece of legislation that makes it a crime to lie, distort, omit, manipulate any information by our elected representatives.

“Something this significant should not be rammed down the throats of an unwilling citizenry by judges…” How about activist hypocrite legislators? Activist ‘I can but you can’t’ groups?

Remember, no one is “forcing” these folks into a (gay or straight) marriage. If there is anything being shoved down your throats the odds are better that it’s got not a damn thing to do with gay folks.


Kevin
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 10:30 amLooks like I have quite a few calls to make to the various Senators and Reps mentioned above asking the obvious. Needless to say, this will be fun. I love to see the staffers squirm. (I’m evil. I know)


Some MN Lawmakers Vowing to “Protect Marriage” Are…Divorced | NOM Exposed
Pingback posted May 18, 2011 @ 10:53 am[…] Minnesota Independent has the story of several Minnesota lawmakers who vehemently support “defending traditional marriage,” […]


Chayanov
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 10:54 amIn fact, they love marriage so much that they get married as many times as they can.


Mike
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 11:06 amAs a former Minnesotan who now lives in CA,I can tell you first hand that this will indeed be a very ugly battle and here in CA we only had 6 mos of follow up to the election. 18 + mos – a full yr & half will be brutal. My neighborhood of middle & upper middle class families is still bitterly divided.There are many who no longer speak or even acknowledge one another;we all know &remember who supported the odious Prop 8. Voting on the ability of someone to make that most personal of choices,the choice of marriage partner is vastly different than other issues;to be in favor of denying that choice is a profound knife wound to the mental & emotional well being of gays & lesbians.It is truly a horrible thing & I hope MN can avoid it. My best wishes & support are with you!


Josh D.
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 11:12 amOkay. This literally blows my mind.

“In testimony before Minnesota Senate and House committees last week, religious leaders and representatives from religious right organizations cited single-parent families and a skyrocketing divorce rate as reasons to protect marriage from being redefined to include same-sex couples”

Could this be any more of a non sequitur? Let me try and spell out this ‘logic’ here:

Currently, the federal government recognizes only marriages between opposite-sex couples. Thus, same-sex marriage is not recognized.

Currently, there is a near-50% divorce rate.

Currently, there are a large number of single parents.

To ensure that this situation is remedied, we must block same-sex couples from marrying, because that is causing such a high number of divorces and single-parent families, even though these relationships are not currently recognized.

Really?

REALLY?

Are the effects of same-sex marriage are somehow traveling backwards through time and causing the high occurrences of divorce and single-parent families? I mean, that’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from that argument. “We have a huge number of people being divorced. We must block same-sex marriage to stop that divorce rate, or at least stop it from increasing.” That statement implies that somehow, same-sex marriage somehow factors into the CURRENT divorce rate, even though it isn’t even recognized!

Are they insane, or just really, really stupid?


EricF
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 11:18 amI generally think private lives are off-limits for discussion, even for politicians. However, the exception is when those politicians are running on their personal morality and superiority to their opponents. Don’t run on holier than thou, and you can do about anything you want in private. Go after other people, and you become fair game.


Wendy Leigh
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 12:10 pmHey Mike!!! How much taxpayer $$$ was WASTED fighting NOM’s dirty little “I can but you cant” war for them???


Dog is my shepherd
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 12:40 pm@ Wendy, of course your dog has more character. Dogs are loyal, faithful and true. They are non-judgmental, kind and forgiving. They are brave in the face of danger, and never complain when faced with hunger, pain or hardship. They are scrupulously honest. You can count on a dog to stand by you when things get tough. Dogs would never fit in with today’s GOP.


Barb
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 12:44 pmSomeone asked above “why focus on this” if it going to be undone in the future? The reason is this has nothing to do with what the Republicans believe. They’re throwing a biscuit to the fundamentalists in their base. They want this on the ballot to bring out all the anti-gay voters who will also go on to vote a straight up and down Republican ticket. It’s sad and pathetic, and shame on politicians who would denigrate a portion of their citizenry for these kind of electoral games.


Tim
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 1:38 pmSo what? Many/most divorcees hate the fact that they failed in a marriage… most I have spoken to still believe in the importance of the traditional family. Should they not vote their conscience because of a personal failure? This is completely non-sequitur.


Mike
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 2:18 pmI have no idea how many tax dollars have been spent on the repellent Prop 8- the spending goes on with it tied up in court. The pro Prop 8 crowd like NOM are by and large religious fanatics- there’s no reasoning with them. They will be ultimately defeated but the cost to humans will be even higher than the monetary sum.


Dog is my shepherd
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 3:48 pmTim, your friends are free to vote their conscience as long as they can live with the hypocrisy of opposing marriage equality as an attack on “traditional” marriage after breaking their own vows before God.


Josh D.
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 4:30 pmTim said: “So what? Many/most divorcees hate the fact that they failed in a marriage… most I have spoken to still believe in the importance of the traditional family. Should they not vote their conscience because of a personal failure? This is completely non-sequitur.”

…no, it’s not. The point is that if they see divorce as a threat to marriage, they should not be fighting to ban same-sex marriage – they should be fighting to ban DIVORCE. That’s why it’s hypocritical.


Bob
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 4:37 pmThe fact that this news website is called Independent is laughable! It is anything but independent!! Fact is that most logically thinking Minnesotans understand that marriage should be kept between one man and one woman and its crazy that we even have to define it at all….Gay couples can bind themselves together if they want and have many legal avenues to do just that! Leave marriage alone!


Bob
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 4:39 pmFYI- keeping marriage between one man and one woman is not anti-gay at all! Its common sense.


Xochial Crash
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 4:47 pmAll I can say is that I have a nearly unstoppable anger and desire to run up and down the Legislative Hallways beating the living daylights out of all the narrow minded Republicans until they SEE what they are doing to their fellow citizenry. And until they understand how ugly this makes them look. I honestly hope that every single one of the people who voted for this, get their political asses smacked hard and fast. Remember, they promised to fix the budget to get voted into office!! Where is the budgetary fix they promised??? Remember, THAT is what you promised to do if you got elected. Well, next Nov will tell the tale.


Eric
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 6:39 pmTim,

Ironic you should mention non sequiturs since they appear to be at the heart of your anti-gay sentiments. In past comments you’ve variously claimed that gay marriage will result in:

-economic collapse
-the end of private property
-the loss of religious freedom
-the destruction of the country

Non sequitur doesn’t quite cover this kind of crazy, however. ‘Magical thinking’ gets a little closer to the truth.


Mike
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 6:46 pmMaybe we should leave civil unions (as a legal reality) to the state and marriage (as covenant or religious reality) to one’s church or spiritual domicile.


Eric
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 6:49 pmAnd oh, how could I forget?

You’ve also claimed that gay marriage will impose a theocracy.

Two men having a private marriage ceremony in a suburban park will somehow, magically, transform the US into a version of Iran.

You may be interested to know that Jesus is returning THIS Saturday! Word has it at 2pm. Have you sold your car yet?


Josh D.
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 8:43 pm@Bob: I see this comment a lot, and it makes me wonder if you are really just uneducated, or if you’re actively being untruthful.

There are many states that offer NO avenues of “binding together” a gay couple, as you put it. See here: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16430 for a list. Well less than half offer any form of marriage or civil union for homosexuals.

Additionally, NONE of these unions are recognized at a federal level. There are numerous federal benefits – some of them major.

“FYI- keeping marriage between one man and one woman is not anti-gay at all! Its common sense.”

Then I’m sure you’ll be able to provide me just SCADS of completely logical reasons as to why it’s common sense.

Not.


Star Stuff
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 9:49 pmCommon sense? Denying someone you don’t like equal rights doesn’t make any sort of sense. How is that NOT anti-gay.


Joe
Comment posted May 19, 2011 @ 1:05 amSo should marriage be 1 man + 1 woman, or 1 man + 1 woman – 1 woman + 1 woman – 1 woman + 1 woman, GOP?


Joe
Comment posted May 19, 2011 @ 1:10 amIf a rising divorce rate is their concern, Massachusetts and Iowa both saw their divorce rates fall to the lowest rate in decades, by legalizing same sex marriage.

Freedom begets freedom. One does not get more of it by taking it from another.


Some Exciting Morning Coffee — Secrets of the City — Minneapolis + St. Paul
Pingback posted May 19, 2011 @ 7:54 am[…] MNIndy: Divorced legislators want to protect marriage! […]


Carl
Comment posted May 19, 2011 @ 11:31 amWow. What’s next? Committed celibates defining sexual relations for everyone based on their shaky interpretation of myth driven texts?

“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!” Monty Python

Praise Jebus, God hates well informed decisions, Amen.


EricF
Comment posted May 19, 2011 @ 1:16 pm@Bob “most logically thinking Minnesotans …”

Conservative logic means never having to question your underlying assumptions.


kevinbgoode
Comment posted May 19, 2011 @ 10:42 pmThe only constitutional amendment that needs to be put to a public vote is one which defines the Republican Party as unfit to govern.


Disgusted American
Comment posted May 20, 2011 @ 7:29 amwell MN residents – its up to you…..do you allow the Right Wing Wackjobs dictate THEIR Religion on Your State? Hey they’ve already have Hampered WOMEN’s Health Issues in Numerous states…that’s right ladies…..keep giving them a pass, and YOUR RIGHTS as WOMEN WILL SUFFER…..why do you allow MEN to tell you what you can and can’t do with your own bodies? Let them pass this this ammendment, and Ladies – YOU’RE NEXT! The RIGHTS of your daughters, grand-daughters ARE UNDER ASSAULT by the GOP and thier Right Wing American Taliban Fringe!!!! LGBT people are ONLY the beginning…..THINK people THINK!

and Bob
Comment posted May 18, 2011 @ 4:39 pm
FYI- keeping marriage between one man and one woman is not anti-gay at all! Its common sense.

….unless you’re marrying someone of the same sex – your marriage will be kept between a man & woman…….you’re NOT STOPPING Anything 1000′s upon 1000′s of Gay cpls have already been married in numerous states, and there is NOTHING YOU can do about it……the cats out of the bag…..its ONLY a matter of time. Now, Do you want MN to be remmebered as A George Wallace state or as a Diverse state……? History is NOT forgiving, nor are your anscestors.


Ken
Comment posted May 20, 2011 @ 1:08 pmThat some people cut their oranges in half or let them rot does not make a rubber ball an orange. There is a difference between bride+groom and man+man or woman+woman because men and women are different. If it wasn’t true, then the L, B, and T in “LGBT” would have no meaning, and gay people could just as easily be happy with someone of the opposite sex.


Mudrose
Comment posted May 20, 2011 @ 2:53 pmMarriage, once again, is not a human right, a civil right, or any other concoctiion you wish to attribute to it. It is the union of one man and one woman. It’s been that way for 2000 years and more and even if you believe in evolution the animals knew how to procreate – an inate and natural phenomena – one male, one female = a child. That is the core unit of the family and the structure of society. This farse you people call same-sex marriage is just that a farse. It’s a foolish fantasy that man on man or woman on woman is marriage. It’s not – it’s mush. And all your ragging on religion doesn’t change that fact. People whether they are divorced or not can still respect the core foundation of society. Marriage between a man and a woman is good for children. Anything else is pure delusion, farcical and wishful thinking.

Our Constitution wasn’t meant to provide same-sex marriage under any Amendment and the founders would have been appauled at the inference. Get a life.


lenny
Comment posted May 20, 2011 @ 4:45 pmTotal hypocrisy when it comes to these elected gay bashers.
Just to repeat, the following are ensuring that committed gay couples can never be married, yet for their heterosexual supremacy it’s ok for them to be married as many times as they want:
Sen. Pam Wolf, R-Spring Lake Park
Rep. Mary Franso, R-Alexandria
Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazepp
Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder
Rep. Doug Wardlow, R-Eagan
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont
Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar* gets special notice for stalking a woman in Planned Parenthood parking lot with a gun in his pocket.


On Pent-Up Political Anger | Eleanor Called Ella
Pingback posted May 25, 2011 @ 10:11 pm[…] “Protecting” Marriage […]


Tom
Comment posted June 24, 2011 @ 12:00 amWell if the divorce rate is so high, don’t get married in the first place!


Trending Down: Homophobe Hawaii Governor Running for Senate
Pingback posted October 12, 2011 @ 2:01 pm[…] Former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has announced today that she plans to run for the United States Senate.  During her tenure as Governor, she vetoed a Civil Unions Bill that had passed the State Legislature, claiming that civil unions were the same as same-sex marriage, which she opposes.  Always consistent on her values, Governor Lingle has been married and divorced twice.  This kind of hypocrisy is sadly typical among anti-equality politicians, like Newt Gingrich and many Minnesota state legislators. […]