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Letters to the Editor: November 10, 2012

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Let's move forward on community issues

I would like to address the recent feedback received for the article included in the Morris Human Rights Commission column of the Morris Sun Tribune on Oct. 27, 2012.

The original plan for the column by the MHRC was to have 15 articles in honor of the 15th anniversary of the commission. The Chair of our committee submitted several articles at the beginning of the 15-week period to get the group started, with each of the other committee members being asked to submit two articles by the end of the year.

One member of our committee felt very strongly about, and stated that we needed an article in support of the Same Sex Marriage Amendment. He stated that we also needed a "Pro One Man/One Woman" viewpoint to be presented. He volunteered to write the article in support of same sex marriages. The other members of the MHRC in attendance agreed that both views should be addressed. I volunteered that I would be willing to put together the article in support of a "One Man/One Woman" marriage because that is my personal belief. I expressed to the MHRC that my opinion would not be in agreement with the member who is a proponent of same sex marriages.

The person who was to write and submit the article in favor of same sex marriage did not do so. When it came time for the weekly submission from the MHRC, the Chair used an official statement from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights as a filler.

As assigned, I completed and submitted my article in support of "One Man/One Woman" marriage. I submitted the article to the Morris Human Rights Commission web site, as instructed. I did not submit it directly to the Morris Tribune, nor did I put the heading of the MHRC on the article.

It seems cynical to me that the person who is insisting that both viewpoints should have been presented and who is being the most vociferous, is the one who did not submit the article he felt so strongly about.

The last time I checked, it seemed that the people of the State of Minnesota were evenly divided on the subject of the marriage amendment. There were many issues caught up within the proposed amendment and I believed in the position I supported. Voters will decide where they stand on this issue as of November 6.

Let's move forward and work on issues for the good of this community.

Jeff Miller - Morris, Minn.

Veterans answered the call

They answered their country's call to arms, into battle they did go. Where this final destination did go, no one will ever know. May their final resting place, under some unknown sod, be forever hallowed, for it is known only unto God.

Jan Malo, Joyce Pieske, and Myrna Tomalla - VFW, AmVets

Morris Human Rights Commission open to conversation

The Morris Human Rights Commission would like to thank those of you who have taken the time to contact us in regards to Jeff Miller's recent article published in the Sun Tribune. It should be noted that the Morris Human Rights Commission advocates free speech and does not censor its members. That being said, we would like to make it clear that the article written by Mr. Miller represented his own personal opinions on marriage, and not those of the MHRC or other members. To clarify Mr. Miller's position with the MHRC, as is the case with all City commissions, he was appointed by the Morris City Council as their representative to sit on the Commission.

In honor of our 15th Anniversary as a Commission, our arrangement was to provide 15 weeks worth of articles written by members and/or guest writers on topics related to human rights. In hindsight (which of course is 20/20), we should have included a disclaimer with each article stating that the opinions expressed are those of individuals, and do not necessarily reflect those of the MHRC. Going forward, this will be done, but that does not remedy or undo what has already been published and the effects it has had on community members, and for that we are truly sorry and apologize.

Although members of the Commission disagree with Mr. Miller on this matter, we do believe that he is also entitled to his opinion. However, his opinion should not have been portrayed as that of the Human Rights Commission. The Morris Human Rights Commission is committed to having the city of Morris known as an inclusive community that values diversity, protects the rights of all individuals, and strives to meet the needs of all individuals. Unfortunately, due to oversight on our part, this article did not represent our mission and commitment to helping ensure human rights for all.

Members of the Commission are open to having a conversation with those who would like to discuss this further. The full Commission meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at the Common Cup. These meetings are open to the public. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, our next meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Thank you all for standing up for what you believe in and helping to hold us accountable when a mistake has been made. This is the basis for helping to protect human rights for all of us!

Morris Human Rights Commission

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