Same-Sex Marriage 15 May 1972

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Same-Sex Marriage 15 May 1972 - Baker: homosexuality is heterosexual problem...
Baker: homosexuality is heterosexual problem ByBOBDHECHSEL City Editor Jack Baker- and Michael McConnell, both of whom are gay, told over a hundred per- sons in Fergus Falls this weekend of their struggle to become ,' the first legally recognized same-sex married ·couple in the nation. , The two', invited to speak by city high school students, spoke at the Fergus Falls State Hospital to an audience of predominantly young people after being denied permission to speak several other places in the city. "We will be doomed as a society if we do not recognize same-sex marriages," Baker, who is also president of the University of Minnesota Student Association (MSA) and a third-year law student, said. He and McConnell maintain they were legally married last September by a United Methodist minister after a struggle which began in May 1970 when they applied for a marriage license in Hennepin County. The license was refused when the Hennepin county attorney said such a move would destroy the nuclear family-,as it is known today, His decision was r XV MICHAELMcCONNELL.LEFT, AND JACK BAKER upheld in district court and by the state supreme court, but the case is still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Baker and McConnell cir- cumvented the problem, however, when McConnell legally adooted Baker and Baker's name was changed to Pat Lyn McConnell.'McConnell then applied for and was issued a marriage license in Mankato County. He used his name and what was legally Baker's new name when he applied. Weeks later, the Mankato county attorney discovered what had happened and at- tempted to invalidate the license. But, McConnell and Baker argue, neither he nor any court has the power to in- validate a legally issued marriage license. Since the law says only one person need apply for a license and because no fictitious name was used, Baker said the license was not obtained by fraud or perjury. Meanwhile, the court case has become somewhat of a class action suit which, if successful, will give all gay persons the right to marry persons of the same sex. Baker and McConnell are being aided in their battle by the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union. Hennepin County, Baker argues, should have issued a license because refusal to do so is a violation of the first, eighth and fourteenth'^mendments to the U.S. constitution. The first amendment is violated, he says, because "by giving childless heterosexual couples all the rights and privileges of marriage, you're putting them on a pedestal. But by denying that to childless same-sex couples, you're in effect putting a chilling effect on the right of association because you are ascribing second class status to gay couples." ', The eighth amendment is violated because, he maintains, it would be cruel and inhuman punishment for anyone to have a sex change operation in order to legally marry. The equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment is violated, Baker explains, because childless heterosexual coupies do nothing for society and are given the rights and benefits of marriage while childless same-sex couples are denied those rights and benefits. But his arguments are sociological as well as legal. "We do not give women first class status unless they're married and have two children," he says. Such status i,s virtually "sacred" although overpopulation is becoming a severe problem. "We must find alternatives to the nuclear family," he con- cludes, "as a matter of need. Same-sex families are one alternative." Baker predicts that same-sex marriages will be legalized before this decade ends and that the result vyill be a profound psychological shock and change in attitude that will offer society a chance for survival. "The gay movement," he said in an interview later, "will I outlive itself in the next three to four years at the most because it won't be that controversial." Already high school gays are coming out into the open. "They're happy-go-lucky," Baker said. "They tell everybody. They don't un- derstand the oppression of the older generation. They don't appreciate the battles that have been fought and won." Baker himself was born in Chicago. In high school he realized he was gay, but dated "to keep up with the Joneses." At age 19, he decided to quit playing the game and be what he was and live his life the way he wanted. Meanwhile, McConnell was growing up in Oklahoma. As soon as he had sexual feelings, he says, he realized his feelings were directed toward persons of the same sex. When his parents found out, they were furious. "The threats lasted four hours," McConnell says. "Then I said I was moving out." He did move out, but soon agreed to visit a psychiatrist with his parents. The doctor offered to try to treat him, but told his parents McConnell was quite able to cope with life. His parents then offered to sell everything to pay for treatment if he would try to be helped. McConnell answered "what for?" Neither Baker nor McConnell is intrigued with the word "heterosexual." "It's a bad term created by ignorant Homosexual has the same connotation as communist," Baker says. "Gay has 'a different con- notation. It implies a life style which may or may not involve a sex act. Being gay is a state of mind. It's not that we couldn't have intercourse with the op- posite sex, we just choose not to." Both subscribe to the theory that humans are born asexual and that interaction with peers determines sexuality -- hetero, homo or whatever. Neither is enthused about the argument that homosexuality is a sickness. "No homosexual has ever been cured," McConnell says. "And no heterosexual has been cured either," Baker adds. Ignorance and fear are the major basis for prejudice., against gay persons, Baker says. "People are afraid of llicir own sexuality; they're afraid to deal with it. "They've never dealt with their own heterosexuality and they're afraid of that. They're even more afraid of dealing with the possibility that they may be attracted to a person of the same sex. They're afraid of opening a can of worms, of something they can't deal with." He and McConnell thus strongly advocate strong school sex education programs. "Parents cannot be trusted with that job (sex education)," Baker said. "They've done a shoddy job of it for 200 years, "We're going to have to have sex education in high school whether parents like it or not." M e a n w h i l e , B a k responding to a question, said homosexuality ts not a gay problem; it Is a hetcrpsexual problem. If heterosexuals cannot come to any reasonable understanding or acceptance of the gay, he said, they can at least turn their cheeks and walk away. "I'm going to live op this earth the way I want to," he concluded, "and I'm going to do it within the context of society." Daily Journal ft Won., Hay 15,1972 9 -- TUESDAY NIGHT O N L Y . . . MAY 16-- OVER 500 PAIR -VALUES TO $21.00! Women's Shoes .. .. 88 PAIR OVER50 PAIR Men's Shoes Values to $19 (TONIGHT ONLY) 7:00 P.M. TO8:00 P.M. 8:00 P.M. TO 9:00 P.M. 9:00 P.M. TO 13:00 P.M. ... Pair Pair $500 Pair ALLOTHER Merchandise Not Specially Priced 10 OFF TUESDAY NIGHT ONLY! psychiatrists who thought they · could do some pigeonholing. "The Family Shoe Store" ; 112 WEST LINCOLN* FERGUS FALLS

Clipped from
  1. The Daily Journal,
  2. 15 May 1972, Mon,
  3. Page 9

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  • Same-Sex Marriage 15 May 1972

    eric_porter – 07 May 2013

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