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Open forum: Grade school lessons hold true

Taylor Stevenson’s guest column (Dispatch May 1, 2011) “Should the majority always rule?” was an excellent article. He argued eloquently for the right of the minority — whether it be for the minority rights of Minnesotans who own guns (41 percent), or the minority of Minnesotans who are gay or lesbian, and want to avail themselves of advantages of marriage.

When I hear arguments about making marriage an exclusive right for heterosexuals but not others, the supporting arguments express or imply religious fundamentals as a basis for the argument.

We speak of “sacred unions” or “holy matrimony.” Yet we accept the marriages of atheists, pagans, and others who don’t base their lives on “faith.”

Since these arguments about marriage are religious, those decisions must be left to individuals, not governments.

Our form of government is secular, not sectarian, and the founders of our constitution made sure it would be this way. (It’s what makes us different from some other countries; Iran for example.) They had seen the terrible costs to society, and individuals, whenever government and religion got together. For an example, read a good book on the Inquisitions, going on for the past 800 years, and still bubbling just under the surface today!

My third grade teacher at Calhoun Elementary School in Minneapolis, Mrs. Gittens, taught us about government and democracy: “Rule by the majority, with respect for the rights of the minority.”

I’ve never forgotten that, and it’s one of only two things I consciously remember being taught in grade school. It’s the only teacher’s name I can recall.

It also brings up an interesting point: since our conservative, activist Supreme Court discovered corporations are living beings, when they merge and combine, will this be a form of  “marriage,” too? Will the corporations have to be male and female?

A. Martin