Gay marriage has become a campaign issue in the debate for the special election in southern Minnesota. Three candidates are vying to replace Republican Sen. Dick Day, who retired in December to become a lobbyist. While none of the candidate—Republican Mike Parry, Independent Roy Srp, and Democrat Jason Engbrecht—said they support same-sex marriage, only one outright rejected the idea: Parry.
Parry caught heat last month when his campaign scrubbed tweets deemed racist and homophobic by bloggers (including me). One compared Democrats and pedophiles and is assumed to have been referring to the Matthew Shepard Act.
The Owatonna People’s Press described the debate on gay marriage, one topic of many at a candidate forum in that city on Monday:
Parry answered the question in just two sentences. “My marriage of 37 years is recognized by the Bible and I am a Christian. I think I have answered the question,” Parry said. His two opponents allowed themselves a little more length. Both Srp and Engbrecht are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and both said they had no plans to abandon their church because of recent controversy surrounding gay clergy members. Engbrecht said the matter was one the citizens of Minnesota should put to a popular vote. “Marriage is one of those things that is very, very personal – one of these things we need to decide upon as a society what we’re OK with,” Engbrecht said. “As a legislator I’m going to refuse to answer this question because I don’t think we should be deciding as legislators. I think we need to vote on this as a state at some point. If we’re not together on it, it’s not going to work either way.” Srp too thought the voters should decide. “I’m not saying that I think gay marriage is something that’s right. I’m saying it’s something that is a fact,” he concluded.