Marriage Equality Looms Large Over Obama’s Minnesota Visit


President Obama takes his reelection campaign to Minnesota tomorrow, and analysts think both his overall popularity and gay marriage endorsement will help defeat a ballot measure that will further restrict marriage rights in the Northstar State.

From the Washington Post:

Minnesota’s[ballot measure] would toughen current limits on gay rights and etch the ban into the state constitution. Obama won 54 percent of the vote in the state and is expected to win it again this year, so opponents of the ban are hoping enough Minnesotans follow the president’s self-described evolution on gay marriage so they can defeat it.

John Murphy, an expert on presidential rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said it’s not a stretch to think some Democrats previously unlikely to vote in favor of gay rights would be won over by Obama. When presidents take a new stand on a hot-button social issue, Murphy said, it can motivate dedicated party followers to change their own views and stay on the same page as their party’s leader.

“I imagine his newly unequivocal support for gay marriage is likely to convince at least some die-hard Minnesota Democrats to swallow personal qualms they might have in order to give their side a win,” Murphy said.

The discriminatory measure's defeat may also be aided by the fact Mitt Romney has yet to open an office in Minnesota, nor does he seem inclined to spend time and money in a largely Democratic state he lost to socialyl conservative primary rival Rick Santorum. Plus, it's unlikely Romney wants to get involved in a marriage fight when the majority of the nation supports recognizing same-sex relationships.

Obama, meanwhile, seems in it to win it. Hopefully he'll his use his clout to the best of his ability.


  1. says

    Like he used his clout to get health care reform. He’ll spout a lot of “fierce advocacy” and do absolutely nothing.

  2. dms says

    maybe I’m too much of a worry wort, but this sounds way too optimistic.

    I know the polls say a majority support marriage equality, but that has never worked out at the polls. And only the polls count. Let’s hope i’m wrong.

  3. PDX Guy says

    Target is “neutral” on the issue. Contrast that with real equality-minded companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, et al.

  4. candide001 says

    Target is NOT neutral on it. They continue to finance rabidly anti-gay candidates. They want you to believe they’re neutral so you’ll shop there. Don’t. Boycott’s still on.

  5. screech says

    See this:

    Don’t vote for more war. Get rid of Obama. Get rid of Romney. Get rid of corporate control.

    See this:

    So now corporations are people but they aren’t responsible for anything? Pay attention to Alito’s response to corporate thievery and murder: “What business does a case like that have in the courts of the United States?”

    If you agree that this amounts to the totalitarian rule of corporations in America, find out how to get involved with occupy this summer. Give money. Also, get involved with democracy and the election process and the democratic party. Take it over. Spread the word.

    When people tell you how great Obama and Hilary and Pepsico and Shell are, refuse to be friends with them. Do not eat with them.

    Most importantly, DON’T let this election be about gay marriage. Hold Obama accountable for his actions. And Clinton, who just made a surprise visit to Sweden behind closed doors at the announcement of Assange’s extradition to Sweden from England. Remember manning and the new powers to kill American citizens without trial, judge, or jury – which Obama personally oversees.


    America, end this now. The only way is to become political and to become a lobby.

  6. screech says

    Also, incorporate yourself. This is possible and gives you rights that you never new you had.

  7. GeorgeM says

    And personally I stand behind the wars we’re in and believe we need to win them. Just my opinion

  8. screech says

    Vote for yourself and those who hold your values. If you can honestly say that American foreign policy embodies your values, vote your conscience. If you can say that the American economic policies that led to the crash in 08 embody your values, then vote your conscience. Remember, Obama actually claimed that no laws were broken! Lies! It’s called securities fraud! The bankers are his friends! In a race between Obama and Romney I don’t care who you vote for. People should be political 24/7 and you should either run for office or find someone who is neither neo-con or neo-dem and campaign for them. This means getting young people out there and spending time and money.

    Vote Obama. Vote Jesus. Vote velociraptors. Just make sure you nail Obama every step of the way for his failed policies (or nail Romney every step of the way for his same failed policies). But change the future by being involved today.

    I want to set fire to liberal apathy. March in the street, is my message. Invest time and money, is my message.

  9. screech says

    And also ask the right questions. Yes, I know that sounds lame. But a lot of people never question or examine the concepts they parrot.

    Ex: What is democracy? Isn’t a gang rape a democracy where 5 consent to intercourse and 1 objects? Is voting by majority actually a democratic value, then?

    Does the united states have a right to act unilaterally? Does any organization on earth have that right? Or is there a responsibility to act multilaterally?

    Since the second reference is obscure,

    There is this taboo in North American culture that says we mustn’t question these things. Bring it up at your next dinner party lol.

  10. screech says

    On what ground do you support these wars – these gang rapes of other countries?

  11. screech says

    The more you dig into these, the more you see how widespread it is. If one third of American women in the American military experience assault, then you do the math. War and rape go hand in hand.

  12. screech says

    Maybe you need a little Jesus? “Blessed are the peacemakers, they are the children of God.” Maybe you need a little Paul? “So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Sounds like good advice. The militarization of the world, at the hands of America, has led to millions of deaths. You prop up more dictators and arm more militants than is sanely possible. See East Timor, where the US armed Indonesia to slaughter the civilian population. See Turkey and Iraq, who the US armed to kill the Kurds in 88. You aided Sadam in his crimes and then punished him for it!

    Of course if you value profit, then this is all stupendous! After all, all these guns cost money and the US gains rights to all the natural resources. So vote your values, then. But the tide of the world has begun to change. You just might find yourself on the other end of the arms you sell.

  13. screech says

    No? No one wants to talk about American foreign policy and American values? Or maybe Obama’s policies and values? See:

    Isn’t that nice. Let’s talk about American values. I’d love to. The problem is I can’t find Americans who want to talk about policy or values. Well, I’m off to bed GeorgeM.

  14. NullNaught says

    I know a lot of what you speak about. I don’t find any of it pretty. I question your bit about no country has the “right” to… What do you mean by a right? people talk about “rights” that people have or don’t have, but they can’t justify such statements without commiting fallacy. I find nothing one can know about “rights” in the imperical sense and I can’t find anything but imagination outside of imperical knowledge. There are facts and truth values for measurable things – science. Nobody has been able to justify logically without commiting fallacy anything having to do with metaphysics in any sense ever and never will either. Metaphysics are imaginary. So explain to me what you mean by this elusive “right,” please. Do you need an explaination what I mean by “Metaphysics?” I am talking about all normative questions: “Ethics”,”Aesthetics”,”Political Science”, etc…

  15. screech says

    I mean ‘rights’ according to the Wilsonian doctrine espoused by Reagan, Bush I & II, Clinton and Obama. One of the points of Wilsonian doctrine is that the US has the right to act in a self interested way concerning the resources of US colonies (it is an imperialistic doctrine). Chomsky is one political theorist who wrote about this doctrine’s impact on Clinton: “The Clinton doctrine, presented to Congress, was that the United States is entitled to resort to ‘unilateral use of military power’ to ensure ‘uninhabited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources.’” That’s in Chomsky’s ‘Hopes and Prospects’ (2010). Note the use of ‘unilateral’ and ‘strategic resources’.

    Politicians could be using ‘right’ in two senses here. In one sense ‘right’ is used in the sense of a legal right. In another sense, ‘right’ could express a sentiment of entitlement according to nature. In that sense, everyone acts in their own interests and so the US has an ability to do likewise. I think these are the general senses in which people are using the term ‘right’.

    Values create different kinds of rights, viz. civil/legal rights, natural rights, human rights, moral rights, etc. JS Mill, an empiricist philosopher, grounded legal/civil/natural rights on the experience of pleasure and pain. Pleasure and pain are values that create rights in an elaborate argument in Mill’s book ‘Utilitarianism’. Kant the rationalist creates moral/human rights out of the respect for will, in effect claiming that all rational agents have moral/human rights. Most people develop a system where the two of these theories interact. This is the source of rights. The values that create rights are pleasure/pain (liking or not liking something) and respect for will (acknowledging abstract value).

    Both empirical and abstract values are explainable and human phenomena. But in the legal/natural sense of the term ‘right’ outlined above, I take it that ‘a right to act’ means ‘acting according to law’ or ‘acting according to nature’ in the case of US interests. Concerning ‘according to law’, law is created through mutual agreement and consent (international law enforces agreed upon rules between parties). Concerning ‘according to nature’, the reference is merely to a possessed ability.

    I would make the case that the US has no legal/natural right to act unilaterally, in the same sense that politicians use those words.

  16. screech says

    Your deeper philosophical point I will contest in a friendly way by claiming that science does in fact make metaphysical claims concerning physics.

    There are plenty of non-material things. Consider how a physicalist might account for density, semantic properties, or psychological phenomena. If science involves a complete description of the universe as Stephen Hawking suggests, then how is a physicalist going to account for things like mental processes? General consensus says that science is reductive in the sense that science can account for all the complexities of life by reducing a concept into a more primitive language. So density is the easiest to understand: (ρ=m/V). Here density is translated into simpler terms of a relation between mass and volume and is hence reductive. Science engages the question of what the universe can be reduced to. It would be nice to have a grand unified theory for example. But lets say that you can come up with a list of fundamental particles and forces. We might call it the master list and on the master list are particles/forces X, Y, Z. It is a metaphysical claim that ‘consciousness’, for example, cannot be on that list of fundamental ingredients to the universe. Science makes metaphysical claims all the time.

    Metaphysical claims are claims about value – and science makes them. I think that closer examination of Kant and Mill leads one to the conclusion that there are ways (empirical and rational) to determine human value.

  17. 1♥ says

    I’m curious as to what you think of the “holographic principle” put forth by string theorist.

  18. NullNaught says

    Science can not make normative claims. People who make normative claims are not speaking as scientist. Science consists of what is measurable, hence what is knowable in the empirical sense.
    There are claims made for example such as string theory and the coppenhagen interpretation that are not science. When people sell these things as science, they betray a fundamental misunderstanding of science. Science consists of the method, the things we learn through the method, the technology we create through the and the act of conservation of that knowledge through recording and teaching that knowledge. That is all. The method requires measurablitiy of some physical property. Do we actually have a basic disagreement there? If you think science contains claims about what consciousness is or is not you are sadly mistaken. There is no way to measure directly this phenomenon called consciousness. Consciousness has not been clearly defined. It is not of the realm of science, but of the realm of philosophy.
    Kant and Mills et. al. make claims bassed on their suppositions and oppinions. There values are not shared by everyone. They are not objectively true. How would you go about demonstrating their value systems as having any basis in reality?
    In other words, if there were a conscious god who cared about human beings, what would be human rights or ethical would be whatever that god thought it should be or not if it chose nothing at all. One would then have to demonstrate this god and demonstrate they new the mind of this god in order to demonstrate that their set of ethical values was correct. By not having any ability to disprove the existance of this god I could say “I know the mind of god and he says screech is unethical!” and you would have no way to refute that. How is Kant or Mills or Locke or Hume on any more sure grounds than anyone else when they speculate? You have named two disagreeing systems amongst many. There is only one measurable science. That is what is. That is how you know it is real and not some stuck-up jacka$$es imagination that they know better than someone else what is right and wrong. Show it or shove it.
    As to legal rights; the U.S. has unilateral veto power over the only agreed apon organization that provides “rights” out of their a$$. Show me that the fact that the U.S. is able to ignore international law doesn’t mean they have the legal right. You have to rely on political science wich will go right back to normative claims I will have to point out you can’t back up with factt, ultimately.
    You can’t go from an is to an ought, now can you? Opinion and fact are two different things and you can’t make the one into the other.

  19. screech says

    @holographic principle
    Though it is counter-intuitive at first, I actually think it is a good way to interpret our model of a universe in one sense: the encoding of information seems to occur at all levels of nature. Biological reproduction (encoding DNA), language (for example, Ruth Millikan constructs a model of the mind that essentially uses symbol production and symbol consumption that gives rise to a semantic account; also see Grice), perceptual systems (think about how photo receptors send information to areas of the brain to be processed), cognition (the modularity of mind theory posits adaptations useful in evolutionary psychology), to MP3’s and digital media – even light can be quantized which is essentially to think of it as if light is information. For example, just like it takes time for information to travel it takes time for light to travel. So I see how we, as human beings, have really latched on to explaining the world in terms of codified information. The stuff that makes up the information we quantize is determined by the encoders and decoders.

    If I could get over the strangeness of it, it might be the best way of understanding gravity and light.

  20. 1♥ says

    Thank you for your response.

    There is still a great deal to learn about the universe

  21. NullNaught says

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. You don’t want to criticize my definition of science and you don’t want to offer a deffinition of your own. You won’t either admit normative questions are a matter of opinion and not fact and thus not knowable, nor will you refute this. I have never had a conversation with a person of letters end so quickly.
    Good luck to you with that lighting a fire thing; I think you’re onto something with that telling liberals to help sink Obama and expecting people to be political all the time idea. Sounds like a lot of fun. Good aproach, reasonable expectations. I think you will go far with this. And never learn to talk down to people, that would make you look patronizing, wouldn’t it?

  22. screech says

    I was just thinking about what you said – don’t take offense. Well, whether or not we disagree depends on what you mean by “The method requires measurability of some physical property.” In virtue of what is a property physical? Define ‘physical’. I don’t know anyone who would say that theoretical physics is not a science, yet they postulate mathematical entities all the time. Now my point about ‘consciousness’ is just that physicalists, which I am, are committed to reducibility. So what is the physical world reducible to? If you claim, contra Descartes, that consciousness is not a fundamental thing that the physical world is reducible to – that claim is metaphysical. Metaphysics is concerned with what there is in the world and how to characterize what there is. When you say “There is no way to measure directly this phenomenon called consciousness” are you saying that physics cannot account for it? Then physics cannot give a complete account of the world. On the contrary, I do think physics can account for such things (see ‘supervenience’: So I do think science makes claims about value; what you call ‘physical property’ is just a value.

    Kant and Mill do have value systems based in reality. I don’t accept some sort of Christian Scientist view that says evil and pain are illusions, for example. Pleasure and pain, Mill’s values, are very real. The acknowledgement of abstract value is also very real. Just to be clear, I’m not claiming that ethics and value theory belong to the sciences. I’m claiming that science makes metaphysical claims and that human values create rights. You indicated that metaphysics is imaginary – pleasure and pain are not imaginary. And neither are the attributions of abstract value. And I don’t know why you’re bringing God into the conversation. You seem to think that claims are objectively true in virtue of God’s saying so or they are subjective and relative to the individual. I would say that claims are true inter-subjectively and the same is true of value systems of the type Kant and Mill consider.

  23. Old Skooler says

    Didn’t Obama rally For marriage equality BEFORE running for congress in IL? Oh, that’s right he flip-flopped and decided to call his flip back from his original flop an evolution. I think if he spit in the face of gays it would have been less offensive. Using a group of people as a political puppet to milk money from them and then to pull the stunt he did on his “evolution”. He’s not earned the right to continue running this country by treating groups he calls friends as less than until it’s politically convenient for him. Don’t be fooled GBLT’s by this ultimate of snake-oil salesmen.

  24. NullNaught says

    This is probably the most entertaining conversation I have had in years. This is not the place to continue it. I have copied your last post so that I will have it verbatim to respond to. If you would contact me at we should havea lot to talk about.
    I agree with your political values. I think your presenting you information to an audience not ready to understand/believe most of what you are saying. I would like to help you spread the word, but I can’t see it working the way you have approached it here. You don’t come off well, and I agree with almost all you say. If you come of poorly to me, I can’t imagine how extreme you sound to everyone else here.

  25. NullNaught says

    Alternatively, we can stay here. We are off of page 4 and so nobody is likely to accuse us of highjacking the thread which is what I was worried about mainly.
    I think in response I would like to cut close to the heart of our disagreement with the question: “Human Values,” wTF? I know what a human genome is; it is a genome that all humans share. Are you saying there is some value we all share? What pray tell? Or are you saying that if the majority share a value, then it is a human value? Are we going to appeal to the masses, then? may I remind you of your gang-rape democracy analogy? So if the majority of humans value truth derived through torture then truth derived from torture is a human value? Did you know, if that be the case, that truth derived through torture was a human value in the middle ages starting around the 12/13th century?
    Again, the real question here is “How do you show what is a human value?” Or how do you assign a truth value to a human value?

  26. screech says

    I emailed you so we can continue our discussion without having to post here, so check your spam trap if you don’t see it.

    What is value? At a few moments in our correspondence you alluded to truth values. So truth values tell you the relation between a proposition and truth. If a sentence ‘A’ is either T or F, then truth values are properties of propositions. But there are other types of value. For instance, economics recognizes the value of goods and paper+abstract value=money (and money has value).

    The easiest way to explain it is to appeal to wikipedia: “Value theory encompasses a range of approaches to understanding how, why and to what degree people should value things; whether the thing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. […] Today much of value theory is scientifically empirical, recording what people do value and attempting to understand why they value it in the context of psychology, sociology, and economics.” Take note of the use of the term ‘scientifically empirical’. So pleasure and pain are mental states – psychological. They are also empirical. They are human values in that human beings are the types of creatures that seek to avoid pain and seek to gain pleasure. Such are human values.

    So it is a good question to ask if we all share the same values. In one sense we obviously have different values. I like olives on my pizza but perhaps you don’t; I think olives taste good and perhaps you think they taste bad. The kind of ‘good’ or value I place on olives is what Kant would call a matter of taste. So I might pay $200,000 for an original Ernst Fuchs, my favorite painter, while you wouldn’t pay a dime for it. That’s a matter of taste.

    You also suggested that in the thirteenth century perhaps if I needed to extract information I would value torture. Now if I value torture because it gets me information then it is a means to an end. This kind of value is what philosophers call ‘instrumental value’. If you want good grades, then you value studying. If you want information then you value torture. The value is instrumental to the goal.

    When we talk about moral values, these are just things that we value for their own sake. If a thing is valued for its own sake then value is not instrumental. But when seeking moral principles, the goal is to develop a system that is not merely a matter of taste or subjective or relative – whatever you’d like to call it. What we want is something that is inter-subjective. So Mill’s hypothesis is that seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is something we all do. These are his values. Is it true? In general, I would say so. So there are masochists out there, cases where perhaps pleasure and pain are confused a bit, but a masochist will still have limits to pain or a threshold where the pain that is pleasurable becomes simply pain. Or perhaps someone is suicidal but, even in this instance, people usually commit suicide to avoid pain (even if suicide is painful).

    Kant makes use of attributing abstract value to people and things. His big thing is that you cannot treat people as if they are a means to an end (which is to treat them as if they have instrumental value). Kant says that we value people for their own sake and so we create moral rules that we can will everyone to follow. So ‘Do not lie’ is a rule that, if everyone followed it, we could will it in all circumstances. We recognize the value of truth (but this value is secondary to the value people possess).

    So think about the institution of slavery. Why is slavery wrong? Actually, Mill will say that it is wrong because it deprives people of their liberty and this harms them. Everyone is entitled to liberty. Kant will say slavery is wrong because you cannot will that everyone be slaves and you are treating people as if they have instrumental value (you want work done and a human being is the instrument). It is as if you respect your own will, but not the will of those you enslave. So is Kant right? Well, probably. We do value ourselves and people for their own sakes. There might be limits, for example with psychopaths/sociopaths that value only themselves – but then this is part of Kant’s claim that all RATIONAL agents ought to respect the will of others if they respect their own will.

    Now how you get from values to rights is another matter. For Mill, see ‘On Liberty’. For Kant, see ‘Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals’. But these are what I mean by the term ‘human values’. So when you ask “how do you assign a truth value to a human value” the answer is you cannot assign a truth value to a human value because truth values are the properties of propositions. Sentences are true or false – not values. And when you ask “How do you show what is a human value” – you just look at humans. Mill takes a psychological approach. The direction I would take the Kantian argument in is a sociological approach.