When the Republicans of Minnesota campaigned in the 2010 midterms, their top priority would be jobs and the economy, they told voters.
But after taking power, a funny thing happened. The self-described "socially conservative" Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch decided that what really needed to be done was rewriting the State Constitution to permanently enshrine discrimination in the laws of the North Star State.
Under Amy Koch's majority leadership, the Minnesota Senate voted to amend the Minnesota Constitution to declare that "a marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in Minnesota." Koch, of course, voted for the bill herself.
And so, the amendment, having cleared the state House and Senate, will move to the voters of Minnesota on Nov. 6, 2012, who will be asked to vote on whether their fellow citizens should be (further) forbidden by law to marry the person they love.
I don't remember voting on Amy Koch's marriage. Is it too late?
See, some news has surfaced that begs the question: should defenders of the sanctity of marriage consider voting Koch out of their sacred matrimonial club?
Amy Koch, a married mother of one, resigned her leadership position late last week. News reports say she was confronted by her Republican colleagues over an "inappropriate relationship" with one of her direct subordinates. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on the press conference:
[Interim Senate Majority Leader Geoff] Michel and other senators said they had heard from several staffers over the past two weeks that Koch was having a relationship with one of her direct subordinates. They said that when they confronted Koch on Wednesday night, she didn't admit to the relationship or deny it.
"Her response to the conversation was ... 'I think I need to consider resigning,'" said Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie.
The GOP caucus members declined to name the staffer in question. Within hours it was announced that Michael Brodkorb, Koch's communications chief, was no longer employed as a Senate staffer. That could just be a coincidence, I'm sure.
Turns out Koch could be in more trouble than just losing her job. Did you know the act of adultery is still a crime in Minnesota? Statute 609.36 reads:
Subdivision 1. Acts constituting. When a married woman has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband, whether married or not, both are guilty of adultery and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.
Democratic Senator Ellen Anderson thought policing the private sex lives of citizens was perhaps not in the state's best interest and made an effort to repeal the law in 2010.
But the usual staunch defenders of marriage objected. Tom Pritchard and his organization, the Minnesota Family Council (MFC), have long been out front and center trying to protect marriage from the gays. (Pritchard also famously suggested that kids bullied to death were asking for it.)
In 2010 USA Today reported Pritchard was not only opposing repeal of the adultery law but calling for it to be strengthened: "Tom Prichard, MFC's president, said these laws are essential because 'they send a message. ... When you are dealing with a marriage, it's not just a private activity or a private institution. It's a very public institution. It has enormous consequences for the rest of society.'"
I have full confidence we can now expect Tom Pritchard to call upon the state to conduct a thorough investigation if the law of Minnesota has been violated. Enforcing the adultery statute vigorously will send an important message, after all. The "consequences" of letting scofflaws go unpunished are "enormous" to "the rest of society," I am told. The fate of marriage and society hangs in the balance.
Perhaps punishment for adultery should even be harsher. An even stronger message would be sent if the law, rather than just a $3,000 fine or a year in jail, actually forcibly annulled the marriage and the adulterers were barred for life from remarrying. It's a good way to ensure only the pure can participate in the institution, keeping it as solemn and traditional as possible.
I propose that the State immediately annul the marriages of any couple who has been found to have violated the sacred vow they made to God "to forsake all others." Only when people learn that they will pay the ultimate price of dissolution of their marriage will they regard the hallowed institution of marriage with the true reverence it deserves.
It might have helped Senate Majority Leader Koch.
Amy Koch's own marriage would have been better off had she spent less of her time worrying about the gays defiling its sanctity and more time at home, practicing her family values, with her own family.
So I ask, dear reader: