Archived Story

Letter portrayed speaker poorly

Published 9:59am Thursday, April 5, 2012


In his March 12 letter, Brad Trom expressed disappointment with Maggie Gallagher’s talk at Owatonna’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church, “Defending Marriage in an Age of Confusion.”

Mr. Trom apparently was expecting a “debate” about the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment. However, the event was advertised — to a predominantly Catholic audience — as a presentation on why it’s reasonable to preserve our state’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Unfortunately Mr. Trom, instead of addressing Gallagher’s arguments, decided to attack her personally — suggesting, for example, that her understanding of marriage was somehow unsound because her first child was born out of wedlock. As well, he claimed that Gallagher was disrespectful to “a member of the LGBT community.” My recollection is quite different.

During Q&A, a gentleman who identified himself as a proponent of gay marriage handed her a hand-written question. She responded politely, “Here’s a question from the guy who supports gay marriage” — not to disrespect him, but to acknowledge her willingness to address questions from both sides. She handled his question very respectfully, for which he publicly thanked her. In fact, I observed the two had a lengthy private conversation after the audience dispersed — hardly what you would expect if he felt publicly disrespected.

In the end, Mr. Trom failed to refute Gallagher’s main points:

• Societies everywhere have recognized marriage as a unique relationship — not to be confused with other types of deep friendship — between a husband and wife.

• Sociological research overwhelmingly confirms that children flourish best when raised by their mother and father.

• Redefining marriage in other states has led to lawsuits and regulatory action against individuals, small businesses and religious groups for refusing to condone the “new” understanding of marriage.

I hope we can avoid name-calling and maintain an open and civil discussion of this important issue as we approach the November ballot.


Joe Stiles



  1. Scott Bute

    Great letter Joe, well done! Mr. Trom must have been somewhat confused by the format. Suggesting that the Church bring in a speaker from an opposite point of view would be like asking them to bring in someone from Planned Parenthood to debate with a pro-life speaker. The objective of the Church is to teach the Truth in love and there can be only one Truth.