MAKING A DIFFERENCEBy Marlene Reid
Part four of five
But, back to the porn fight!!! With the election of Ronald Reagan, the appointment of Ed Meese to head the Justice Department, and the positive report of a new Commission, enforcement of obscenity and pornography laws went into high gear. The RICO (Racketeering & Corruption) statute was passed. Ferris Alexander, Minnesota’s porn king, was the owner of the Faust and Flick porn establishments on University and Dale, and many other outlets, that were eventually closed down. When Ferris Alexander came to the legislature to defend his porn empire I went toe to toe with him, and told him and the Committee that we knew he was providing free office space to his mouthpiece, the ACLU Attorney Randall Teague, who was representing him and crying Free Speech. I also told my husband that evening that if I were ever in a mysterious car accident perhaps they should look for a car bomb. After all, I was taking on organized crime!
All of Ferris Alexander’s property was confiscated to pay off his fines for violation of the Interstate Commerce Laws. He died in Federal prison. I only hope that he had a conversion before he died, following the example of Ted Bundy who, incidentally, confessed that it was porn that set him off on his multiple-rape rampages and serial killing spree.
Because of time constraints, I’m not going to be able to get into the pro-life track, or give Human Life Alliance the credit it deserves, but it has been a very rewarding part of my 37 years of activism. Most of you here know that I zeroed in on the pro-life cause for a big part of my life. I reasoned that if we didn’t have life, none of these other issues were going to affect us. You’ll have to come back next year for that Chapter, although Jenni Maas outlined a good portion of it.
But, I do want to hit a few more highlights of the pro-family track. Terry Todd, Mary Prior and I, way back then, coined the word, “pro-family.” It was first picked up nationally in an Oklahoma newspaper quoting one of our news releases. The three of us haunted the legislature. We were known as Women for Responsible Legislation, MN Chapter of Eagle Forum, The Committee for Positive Education, and The Pro-Family Lobby. “Little Women” just didn’t sound professional enough. The Legislators who worked with us, and who were so grateful for our research, became known as the “Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Decency” caucus, lawmakers from both political parties. We were invited for a day to their summer retreat to give our input as to what legislation would be best to pursue, and of course, which ones needed to be defeated in the upcoming session. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention at least a few of these warriors – Representatives Mike Menning and Glen Sherwood, Senator Chmielewski who is here tonight – having driven non-stop after his Polka gig near Duluth to join us. Let’s give him a round of applause for his many years of dedicated leadership on behalf of our causes - and Senator Wayne Olhoft, who later founded the Berean League, now known as the Minnesota Family Council, still doing great things for Minnesota families.
In the 1970’s, the homosexual community was trying to get a bill passed adding “sexual orientation” as a special classification under the Human Rights Act. This was far-out at the time! Who, in their right mind, would think that “sexual orientation” should be given the same legal status as color, creed, age, and gender? Look where we are 30 years later - fighting off a movement for “gay marriage”! The giant is still alive and well, and making inroads. At any rate, we had been successful in defeating this move at every turn, in every session. Suddenly, the bill authored by Senator Spear, the homosexual Senator, was scheduled for a hearing at 12:00 midnight. Guess who he thought would be home in bed? But, that was not the case. Mary, Terry and Marlene were in the gallery. The vote came within one vote of passing. The next morning, when Senator Chmielewski informed us that Senator Spear was promising to trade votes on a bridge bonding bill if the Winona Senator would vote for the “sexual preference” bill, we went into action and hit the phones. Because of our statewide talks opposing the ERA, exposing the feminists’ plan to get sexism out of education and restructure the family, and all of our other pro-family issues, we had phone numbers of concerned citizens throughout MN. Yes, even in Winona! The Holy Spirit did the rest! Within 24 hrs. 10,000 phone calls had come into the Minnesota Senate, jamming the switch-board, and letting the Senators know, in no uncertain terms, that the vote on “sexual orientation” should be “NO.” We had won! That status quo stuck until Arne Carlson became Governor (he had been pro “gay rights” all the time he served in the legislature).
An attorney working with us asked what he could do to help. We said he could notify Mr. Casmey, the Commissioner of Education, that we would be filing a law suit if he and the Department of Education began to implement the feminists’ agenda for getting “sexism out of education” and establishing a feminist in each school district to oversee enforcement. The law suit was never necessary. A Women’s Consortium newspaper, published in the 1990’s admitted that we (“the crazies” they called us) set them back 15 years. I only wish it had been permanently!At one hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Davies was presenting his Criminal Sexual Conduct Bill, a redefinition of the Rape Statute which listed some significant repealers. At my turn to testify, I asked the Senators if they knew which laws were being repealed. When they admitted that they didn’t have a clue, I informed them that the laws against sodomy, adultery, fornication and bestiality would be struck down if this bill passed as drafted. After they picked their chins up off the table, received a confirmation from the author that this was indeed the intent, they closed their folders and adjourned. I am pleased to say that, while these “so-called consenting adults” statutes have been repealed in about one-half the states, they are still on the books in Minnesota.