The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election 2012

October 1, 2012

City of North Mankato decides to stay out of marriage debate



But Norland said she agrees that the city doesn’t have a role in the debate and that her opposition to the amendment should remain as a private citizen rather than as a council member.

“I think our work is sewers, parks, those kinds of things,” she said. “I don’t think (the amendment) is our arena of work.”

The issue came to the council after North Mankatoan Nancy Cramblit asked the council to pass a resolution opposing the amendment, which would have required a public hearing on Oct. 16.

Two supporters and three opponents of the amendment, put on the ballot by Minnesota’s Republican-controlled Legislature, spoke first Monday night. Cramblit asked that North Mankato become the 14th city in the state to officially oppose the amendment, but she said her overriding goal — even if the council didn’t want to pass the resolution — was to have the city sponsor a discussion of the topic in the interest of informing voters.

Bob Wegscheid, speaking on behalf of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church’s pro-amendment committee, said the city has no legitimate reason to inject itself into an issue that is to be decided by the voters. Wegscheid also discouraged the council from holding a hearing to allow North Mankatoans to debate the issue, saying the Legislature had already held hearings where public testimony was allowed.

Scott Thiem of Shady Oak Drive, however, said the council should take a stand because the civil rights of some of its residents would be undermined by passage of the amendment.

“We have gay and lesbian citizens who live in our community. They support our town as much as any straight person does,” Thiem said. “They pay taxes. They interact in our community. They shop in our stores. They go to our college (and schools). We should be telling our entire community that we don’t have second-class citizens in our town.”

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Election 2012