Minnesota Marriage Debate: Granite Falls

8:24 AM, Oct 18, 2012   |    comments
Downtown Granite Falls
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GRANITE FALLS, Minn. - In the Twin Cities, it's hard to miss the vote yes and vote no signs that line the streets.  But head southwest to the small community of Granite Falls and the signs are more seasonal than controversial.

"Just trying to beautify Granite Falls," says Sharon Schuler as she works in one of the town's gardens.

The Ladies Slipper Garden Club agree on a vision for the town's garden. What the women disagree on lies just below the surface of this river town.

"We believe the scripture that in creation, God created man and he also created a woman to stand beside him," says Lois Dahlager who plans to vote yes when she casts her ballot on the marriage amendment on election day.

Her friend Pearl Lenzen doesn't agree and says, "I don't think it should be in the constitution. I think we're giving up rights which people should have." Pearl plans to vote no come election day.

Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski knows the people in his town are private but he says they still hold strong feelings about the amendment.

"People keep pretty close to their vest maybe because they know there can be hurt feelings," he says.

Smiglewski is also the publisher of the town's newspaper and one of the most vocal opponents of the amendment.

"There certainly are some gay folks living out here," he told us.

Democratic State Senator Lyle Koenen says he hears more conservative voices in his district. That's why he broke rank with the DFL and voted to put the amendment on the ballot. Only two other Democrats broke rank with him.

"The message was pretty consistent, that's what people at home expected," Koenen says.

He says people in his district want the chance to vote on marriage and the women of the garden club will get to do that without digging up any controversy.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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