What happened after Jack Baker and Mike McConnell tried to get married 40 years ago?by Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today, we go into the basement to track the history of the same-sex marriage debate in Minnesota. We also remember Paul Wellstone. There's a profile of Jim Graves in his race against Michele Bachmann, a report on charges of blatant lies in the campaign for a voter ID constitutional amendment, a conversation with ranchers who celebrate the new wolf hunt and story about the a new anti-bullying panel in the Anoka-Hennepin schools.
DEEP ROOTS: Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Minnesota, but voters will be asked on Election Day whether they want to outlaw it in the state constitution as well. The debate was set in motion 40 years ago when Jack Baker and Mike McConnell, above, tried to apply for a marriage license in Hennepin County. Sasha Aslanian has produced a special documentary chronicling the roots of this issue in Minnesota. It's accompanied online by a special interactive a timeline.
HURTFUL WORDS: A story out of Hastings offers an example of how passionate this debate has become: A group of Twin Cities religious leaders called for an apology for a same-sex marriage ban supporter's comments that compared gay marriage advocates' tactics to those used by Adolph Hitler in Nazi Germany. Rupa Shenoy reports that the pastor's supporters insist his words are being blown out of proportion
TACKLING BULLIES, RAISING EYEBROWS: Tammy Aaberg says her gay son killed himself in 2009 after being harassed in school. She applied to be on a new Anoka-Hennepin panel aimed at tackling bullying, but was turned down. Meantime, a conservative Christian applied to be on the same task force and won a spot. She's concerned that he thinks homosexuality is a "sexual disorder." The panel holds its first meeting tonight.
BACHMANN vs. GRAVES: For months, DFLer Jim Graves has tried to make a competitive race out of his bid to oust Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann. Recent polls give Bachmann a solid lead, but it is close enough that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added Minnesota's 6th district race to its "Red to Blue" list of competitive races. Still, as Mark Zdechlik reports, it's difficult to defeat an incumbent.
WELLSTONE: Paul Wellstone died 10 years ago today in a plane crash near Eveleth that also took his wife, daughter and five others. Since then, his status as a progressive icon has become firmly lodged in the history books. And his legacy is now part of a new book titled "The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame," by Professor Peter Dreier, who teaches politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Dreier spoke with MPR's Cathy Wurzer.
MORE WELLSTONE: We'll have more tomorrow on the Wellstone memorial planned for this afternoon. In the meantime, read this story from Marc Sanchez about the crash site.
VOTER ID TURMOIL: In a new TV ad opposing the proposed voter ID amendment to the state constitution, Alex Erickson, an Iraq war veteran from Minneapolis, said that when the Legislature put it on the ballot, "they screwed it up. To them, military IDs aren't valid IDs, which means this amendment takes away a basic freedom from people who gave a whole lot. Let's send this back, and make them fix it." Supporters of the ballot question say the ad is filled with lies.
DENSE ISSUES: Here's something property taxes, school funding and the state's budget have in common: Each is center stage in some of the most contested legislative races in the state, from the suburbs of the Twin Cities to the north woods. Catharine Richert reports that these dense policy issues, which first surfaced during the last legislative session, have transformed into essential campaign talking points in this year's down-ballot elections.
LEADING VOTERS ASTRAY: Republican candidate for the Legislature Stacey Stout "helped turn a $6 BILLION deficit into a $1 BILLION surplus," one campaign flier says, alluding to Minnesota's budget battle last session. But she's never served in the Legislature. Catharine Richert wants to know: What's going on here?
OBAMA MARATHON: President Barack Obama is confidently predicting speedy second-term agreement with Republicans to reduce federal deficits and overhaul immigration laws, commenting before setting out Wednesday on a 40-hour campaign marathon through battleground states that could decide whether he'll get the chance. Republican Mitt Romney, meanwhile, looked to the Midwest for a breakthrough in a close race shadowed by a weak economy.
JOBLESS AID APPLICATIONS DROP: Meanwhile, after the nation's unemployment rate fell in September to 7.8 percent -- the lowest level since January 2009, Obama's first month in office - there's news today that weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, a level consistent with modest hiring. And in case you missed it, unemployment rates fell last month in nearly all of the battleground states that will determine the presidential winner, giving Obama fresh fodder to argue that voters should stick with him.
RANCHERS PRAISE WOLF HUNT: Since grey wolves came off the endangered species list Jan. 27, state law has allowed ranchers to shoot them, any time of year, if they threaten livestock or pets. Now, a state-sanctioned wolf hunt begins next Saturday, and ranchers have been among its strongest supporters.
ST. PAUL SHOOTINGS: St. Paul Assistant Police Chief Robert Thomasser said his department has been shaken by two fatal officer-involved shootings. The first came as officers assisting with a Minneapolis narcotics investigation. The second happened when two officers responded to a theft of a shotgun and a bow and arrows from a home. Rupa Shenoy has more.
TEXTING: Lastly, what do we have to do to get teens to stop texting and driving? A Wisconsin mom whose daughter died in a car crash, likely while texting, spoke with The Daily Circuit about efforts to curb the dangerous behavior. She was joined by Paul Atchley, a professor of psychology and director of the Cognitive Psychology Program at the University of Kansas.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.