Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

OUR OPINION: Let liquor stores unlock doors on Sundays

One reason above all others should convince the Minnesota Legislature to allow Sunday liquor sales:

The public wants it.

Make that, the public really wants it. When Public Policy Polling asked Minnesotans in 2013 whether Sunday liquor sales should be allowed, fully 62 percent said "Yes" and only 31 percent answered "No." (Seven percent were undecided.)

In short, the "ayes" had it, and by a 2-1 margin, too.

Against that kind of sentiment, the reasons for keeping the ban on Sunday liquor sales had better be very strong. But they're not, as the years have made clear.

These arguments generally amount to one or another group predicting that they'll be hurt or inconvenienced by Sunday liquor sales. For one thing, though, such arguments usually aren't enough to trump public opinion, especially when the change being talked about is as mild as letting stores that want to do so open their doors on Sundays.

For another, America's "laboratories of the states" serve a purpose here; because if allowing Sunday liquor sales truly had a harmful effect, then that effect would have shown up in the 38 states where such sales have long been allowed.

Has such a thing happened?

No. If it had, you can bet some number of states would have re-imposed the ban. Instead, the trend's entirely in the other direction, and Minnesota with its ban stands more and more alone each year. (All of the states surrounding Minnesota already allow Sunday liquor sales.)

Here's another point, this one from the Star Tribune's editorial in December, which also called for overturning the ban.

"The Sunday sales ban was enacted by the 1935 Legislature, the first to meet after Prohibition was repealed in December 1933," the editorial noted.

"It was a concession to the state's alcohol-abhorring, Sabbath-keeping Protestants, some of whom had been leaders in bringing Prohibition to the nation in 1919.

"Today, alcohol use in moderation is more widely accepted. And Sunday is now a day of work as well as Christian worship."

Add to that the fact that Sunday now is the second-biggest shopping day of the week for the America's 35- to 54-year-olds, and you've got reasons enough to overturn the ban.

Times change, cultures evolve, and public opinion shifts. That's why all of the other "blue laws" against Sunday sales have fallen by the wayside. And that's why the time has come for this one to be left behind as well.

-- Tom Dennis for the Herald

Advertisement