This is Fritz Knaak. (
by Tony Petrangelo
May 9, 2013, 8:00 AM

Fritz Knaak is often called a bigot

This is the second post about a debate earlier in the week between Republicans Brian McClung and Fritz Knaak concerning gay marriage. Part one can be found here.

I’ll pick up towards the end of McClung’s response to Cathy Wurzer about whether he think’s this issue will alienate some social conservatives.

Brian McClung: What I’m trying to do is at least open up a conversation among Republicans.

Cathy Wurzer: Senator Knaak?

Fritz Knaak: Well I love that word “conversation,” that we’re supposed to be having while this is going on. I would actually welcome a real dialogue on the issue. And the point that Brian made is a point that’s worth making which is the argument that “Hey, why shouldn’t we be granting these benefits to same sex couples?”

Now I’ve explained to you the underlying idea behind it and that’s only one aspect of it. Actually what we’re talking about is somewhere in the neighborhood, somebody counted, 15 or 16 hundred specific legal benefits that come with that status of being married. The argument here is whether we should be offering those additional, fairly expensive, benefits to gay couples.

And the part of this conversation that you don’t hear is the defense of the idea that yes we should because. Showing me numbers, showing me things that perhaps we know intuitively. I think you have to be living under a rock in this state not know at least some gay couple that is a friend that you have known for many, many years, stable relationship and all those kind of things.

And intuitively you can sense that there’s a positive aspect to that. It has to be in one sense more healthy, better, all those kinds of things. But there are no numbers like that that come into this argument.

To which Cathy Wurzer asks the most obvious question:

Cathy Wurzer: Why do you think we don’t hear that?

I know, I know… but I’ll let Fritz Knaak respond first.

Fritz Knaak: Well, that’s a good question. You know and I think it’s because they aren’t there. That this thing has happened so quickly and it’s been thrust at us so quickly that those arguments aren’t there. Every time you try to raise that argument, you know you get, the response is, well you know you’re just a bigot. You just don’t understand. This is really about love.

Fritz Knaak knows gay couples who have been in long term, committed relationships, because obviously he doesn’t live under a rock. And yet despite this, despite having long term homosexual family friends, Fritz Knaak thinks we need to do more research on this whole gay marriage thing before we get too far down the rabbit hole.

You know, make sure we know what all the possible tax ramifications are of granting people equal rights.

And Fritz wonders why people call him a bigot.

Fritz Knaak: I hate to say this but, well no I don’t, but marriage is not about love as far as the state and as far as Minnesota’s concerned. It’s about having sustained relationships that we all benefit from. And historically that has been younger families that are heterosexual, not because they’re heterosexual, but because they’re raising children.

We count on that.

Cathy Wurzer: So are gay and lesbian families.

Fritz Knaak: Some. And you know that’s the argument that always gets thrown out at us. You know if I saw numbers, for example, that said to me, “hey, 85-90% of gay and lesbian relationships result in children and child raising that would be a real powerful argument for treating those kinds of relationships exactly the same as heterosexual relationships.

Intuitively, anecdotally, we don’t see that. Maybe what that means is we need to treat couples that do that differently.

I’m not going to hammer on Fritz for the whole “marriage is not about love” thing, because really, what’s the point? Fritz is a numbers guy, he wants to see numbers!

Before I get to those numbers though, I want to point out to Frtiz Knaak that just because no one has presented him with the numbers he seeks, doesn’t mean such numbers don’t exist. There is this wonderful new thing called the internet. In fact, if you are reading this post, you are probably on the internet.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the internet.

If you hadn’t noticed Fritz, we’re living in the freaking future, with handheld communicators and robot vacuum cleaners. The numbers you seek are but a few keystrokes away.

For instance, have you heard of the Williams Institute Fritz? Allow me to quote from their website:

The Williams Institute is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.  A national think tank at UCLA Law,  the Williams Institute produces high-quality research with real-world relevance and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public.

Would you look at that Fritz? That sounds like just the kind of thing you were asking about. Numbers!

Additionally, the number’s that Knaak himself used were a bit outrageous, citing a 85-90% figure for having children as the ideal. I suspect he thinks this is the rate at which straight married couples have children.

Here is the numbers for all families from the most recent US Census:

Married couple 58,410,000
With own children 24,575,000 42%
Without own children 33,835,000 58%

Would you look at that? That majority of married couples do not have their own children. And yet, they still get all those married people tax breaks. For a guy so interested in numbers, these are some numbers that you would think Fritz Knaak knew about.

But I suspect that Fritz Knaak prepared as much for this radio debate as he does for most of his legal arguments.

Full interview:

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.