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Bulletin letters to the editor: marriage amendment; Lehrke-Schoen race; birthday wishes

Church to discuss marriage amendment

This coming Sunday, Sept. 16, guests and members of Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul Park will learn how to have heartfelt conversations about the marriage amendment on the ballot in November. I am opposed to this amendment that would limit the freedom to marry, as are many of the church's members. Our 1 p.m. gathering is among 150 such events statewide in this Faith Action Week. Religious leaders, congregations and people of faith are learning to speak out against the amendment -- not in spite of but because of our faith.

Community UCC is a close-knit congregation that's not afraid to address what some people call "hot button issues." Our Christian faith upholds the Golden Rule that Jesus taught: treating others as we would like to be treated. That's why as a pastor and a church we can't remain silent when this amendment would directly affect our members and their children. For me, it's personal. My husband Javen and I married for the same reasons as everyone else -- because we love each other deeply and wanted to make a lifelong commitment to each other in the presence of God and our whole community.

I'm proud that our congregation is talking about this. I hope that the whole state will join the conversation, as we decide whether or not to exclude many of our neighbors, friends and family members from the freedom to marry.

Pastor Oby Ballinger

Community United Church of Christ, St. Paul Park

Schoen will represent community

When candidates run for public office, I research their backgrounds, recent history and knowledge to figure out what they will do if elected.

In the case of this contested House race in 54A (formerly 57A), the outcomes couldn't be more different. When it comes to Republican candidate Derrick Lehrke, he will be placed on committees where he will be a rubber stamp for the GOP. Based on his Cottage Grove City Council tenure, none of his authored bills I think will pass the governor's desk, for they will be too far to the right. In short, he will help cause more partisan gridlock.

More importantly is what will happen if the GOP wins control of both legislative houses with the help of a Lehrke victory. Based on their own recent history and comments, the Republicans will attempt to pass some sort of anti-union legislation and force more budget cuts and education borrowing to avoid another shutdown with Dayton, which will force cities and school boards to raise local property taxes or cut their own budgets which will put public and child safety at risk.

As for Democrat Dan Schoen, I see the opposite. I see him crafting some very thoughtful bills on public policy and safety that will get bipartisan support. Based on his rural background and working on urban police forces as well as the work of other police officers in the Legislature, I see him working with legislators from both rural and urban Minnesota to find common ground. And I see him speaking in front of committees on education and health care on bills that will help and not hinder local residents.

The point is that when November comes around to join me to support bringing sensible politics to St. Paul and not rigid ideologies by voting for Schoen for state representative.

William Labovitch

South St. Paul

Labovitch is the Senate District 54 DFL affirmative action officer.

Birthday wishes from young boy brightened day

I was at Perkin's restaurant in Cottage Grove last Thursday to celebrate my birthday. I had a coupon for a free birthday breakfast.

While I was sitting there, a young boy passed my table with his father and saw the coupon. He grinned at me and said, "Happy Birthday."

He was so polite and cheerful -- smiling from ear to ear. It made my day.

Bonnie Duffert

Cottage Grove