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Minnesota newspapers on marriage, voting amendments: a resounding ‘No’

Minnesotans may be split on this fall’s two proposed constitutional amendments, but Minnesota’s newspapers are not. Through Wednesday, no paper has endorsed Minnesota’s anti-gay-marriage amendment, and only two (the Fairmont Sentinel and St. Paul Pioneer Press) have said “yes” to the voter ID amendment.

You can see the tidal wave of opposition in the chart below, which lists 50 state papers, their verdicts on the amendments, and links to their opinions.

Blank verdicts indicate the paper has not yet weighed in; there are a couple of marriage amendment maybes. Papers stating they will make no endorsement are listed as “pass.” Only editorials are counted, not columns from individual writers.

“Vote No Twice” forces have been greatly helped by opposition from the state’s two largest chains, Forum Communications and ECM. Forum (conservative but of a more libertarian bent) and ECM (founded by the extinct species of liberal Republican) each placed a corporate-sanctioned editorial in more than two dozen papers.

If you count each chain as a single entity, the marriage-amendment scorecard as of Monday, Nov. 5 is:

0 Yes
2 Maybe
20 No
3 Pass

On voter ID:

2 Yes
25 No

Do newspaper endorsements matter? Activists work hard to get them, but if they were always determinative, Norm Coleman would still be U.S. Senator.

I do know that that the opposition as of now comes from papers big and small, chain and independent, rural and metro. Newspaper readers tend to skew older … just like the voting public.

The table below indicates newspaper editorial positions on the proposed amendments. To read the editorials, click on the newspaper’s position. (Some editorials are no longer available online.)

Marriage amendmentVoting amendmentChain
ABC NewspapersNoNoECM
Albert Lea TribuneNoNo
Alexandria Echo PressNoNoForum
Austin Daily HeraldPassNo
Bemidji PioneerNoNoForum
Brainerd Dispatch
Byron ReviewNoNo
Caledonia ArgusNoNoECM
Chaska HeraldNoNo
Cloquet Pine JournalForum
Crookston Daily Times
Detroit Lakes OnlineNoNoForum
Duluth News TribuneNoNoForum
Ely TimberjayNoNo
ECM Post ReviewNoNoECM
Fairmont SentinelYes
Fargo ForumNoNoForum
Faribault Daily News
Farmington IndependentForum
Fergus Falls JournalNoNo
Hastings Star GazetteNoNoForum
Hibbing Daily Tribune
Hutchinson LeaderNo
International Falls JournalNoNo
Kanabec County TimesNo
Litchfield Independent ReviewNo
Mankato Free PressPassNo
Marshall IndependentNo
McLeod County ChronicleNoNo
Mesabi Daily NewsNoNo
Mille Lacs County TimesNoNoECM
Minneapolis Star TribuneNoNo
Monticello TimesNoNoECM
Morris Sun TribuneNoNoForum
Morrison County RecordNoNoECM
New Ulm JournalMaybeNo
Owatonna People’s Press
Park Rapids EnterpriseNoNoForum
Pine City PioneerNo
Princeton Union-EagleNoNoECM
Red Wing Republican EagleNoNoForum
Rochester Post-BulletinNoNo
Rock County Star HeraldMaybeNo
St. Cloud TimesNoNo
St. Joseph NewsleadersNoNo
St. Paul Pioneer PressOy.Yes
Shakopee Valley NewsNoNo
Swift County MonitorNoNo
S. Washington Cty BulletinNoNoForum
West Central TribuneNoNoForum
Wadena Pioneer JournalForum
Winona Daily NewsNoNo
Woodbury BulletinNoNoForum
Worthington Daily GlobeNoNoForum

See a newspaper editorial not listed here? Email it to or notify me at @dbrauer on Twitter.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Reed Anfinson on 10/31/2012 - 12:51 pm.

    Amendment opposition

    At the Swift County Monitor-News in Benson we have taken editorial stands against both amendments. We’ve also run letters to the editor urging people to vote for both. In small towns, taking controversial stands can mean losing precious subscribers. On the Marriage Amendment, where religious beliefs play a big part and emotions run deeper, this has been particularly true. Here is what we said about our stand against the Marriage Amendment:

    “…without the courage to challenge widely held beliefs, to publish thoughts that result in car windows being broken, office windows being smashed, subscriptions and advertising being canceled, or lives threatened, we would still be living with many of the prejudices of the past. …
    “…Newspapers that lack the courage to address these issues, despite the consequences, do a disservice to their readers, their communities and to the Democracy created by the Founding Fathers.”

    • Submitted by David Brauer on 10/31/2012 - 12:56 pm.

      Online links, Reed?

      Thanks for letting us know … we’ll add to chart. Any way for non-subscribers to read online?

    • Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/31/2012 - 01:18 pm.

      If I could, I’d promote Reed Anfinson to become editor-in-chief of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, because that newspaper needs to be reminded of its Fourth Estate obligations.

      Unless, of course, Reed doesn’t think that would be a promotion …

  2. Submitted by Lyn Crosby on 10/31/2012 - 01:14 pm.

    Pioneer Press

    St Paul Pioneer Press – out of step again………….I am embarrassed to say.

    • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 10/31/2012 - 02:22 pm.

      I thought the PiPress passed on everything

      At least that’s what they said at the beginning of the endorsement season.

      • Submitted by David Brauer on 10/31/2012 - 03:45 pm.

        The one judgment call I made

        The PiPress says the don’t endorse, and don’t use the words “vote yes” in the linked editorial, but I defy anyone to actually read the lengthy evisceration of the opposition and come away with any other conclusion.

  3. Submitted by Nathan Johnson on 10/31/2012 - 03:50 pm.

    Proud of the Pine City Pioneer

    Way to go, Mike Gainor, editor of the Pine City Pioneer, in taking a controversial ‘Vote No’ stance on the anti-gay marriage amendment issue. It means a lot in our rural community (where an annual gay pride is held, one of the few in the World outside of a metro) and the hot-button issue has been discussed at length for nearly a decade. For our small-town, weekly newspaper to come out against the discriminatory amendment sends an empowering message to the people of the community now and into the future.

  4. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 11/01/2012 - 08:57 am.

    Left veering more left?

    We hear so much about the right moving to the extreme right. What? In 1996 President Clinton signed DOMA, and amongst many other Democrats, Sen. Wellstone even voted in favor of DOMA. Isn’t it the other way around – that it is the left moving to the far left? I believe that it the case.

  5. Submitted by Adam Miller on 11/01/2012 - 10:39 am.

    Is it really left?

    Civil rights isn’t really a left/right issue, or at least it shouldn’t be.

    So, yeah, what’s happening is that gay rights are no longer a fringe left issue. One need only look at the growing number of conservatives who have come around on the question. Dick Cheney, of all people, is in favor of gay marriage.

    But if you’re talking economic policy, the left no longer exists. And it certainly hasn’t moved more left.

  6. Submitted by Matthew Zabka on 11/05/2012 - 04:04 pm.

    Thank you for putting all of this information together!

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