Gay marriage law doesn’t affect most folksPublished 10:01am Thursday, May 16, 2013
Column: Guest Column, by Joel Myhre
So I heard one person on Friday say that the day the gay marriage bill passes in Fergus Falls will be “a bad day.”
That “bad day” happened this week.
To those who agree with this person, I say to you, you really won’t feel a thing.
To those who are lifelong committed partners and their family and friends, it will mean a lot. It will provide them rights for insurance, property and a lot more than I can think of. Among those gay couples in committed relationships, there will be plenty of ceremonies and celebration once the law goes into effect.
For everyone else in Minnesota, your lives simply will not change because our state Legislature was the 12th in the nation to approve gay marriage.
OK, if you are uncomfortable with homosexuality, then seeing the stories and photos in the media of wedding ceremonies between homosexuals will probably make you uncomfortable. But that will only last a day or two.
Unless your church approves of allowing gay marriages, it won’t affect your faith. If your church leaders decide to allow homosexual couples to marry, and you don’t agree with it, then you can attend another church.
Your family structure, the education of your children, job, friends and social life will all remain the same after gay marriage becomes law.
And that’s the way gay couples want it.
They want to be treated like everyone else. They want to be married, and to celebrate their marriage with those they love. They want the same rights that the law affords all other married couples.
No one is asking you to change your opinion on whether homosexuality is wrong or right. If you believe it’s morally wrong, so be it. But there are lots of behaviors which many believe are morally wrong that are still legal — drinking alcohol, smoking and adultery among them.
Frankly, I was opposed to the Legislature passing the gay marriage bill this time around because I thought, to the majority of Minnesotans, it would be viewed as the DFL majority overstepping its political capital. Like the Republicans who pushed for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, the Democrats would pay for their overreach with a loss of power.
I’m thinking that’s not going to be the case with this issue. Public opinion on gay marriage seems to be changing as quickly as cellphone technology. Clearly, as more and more Americans weigh the issue, and actually get to know homosexual individuals either personally or through media coverage, opinions change.
On the Legislature’s proposed state budget, however, it seems clear we’re in for an overreach, and the DFL majority likely will pay the consequences.
With a projected budget deficit of $627 million that may shrink even more over the next two years as the economy improves, the Legislature could really solve the problem with some minor tweaks — small spending cuts, small tax increases.
However, DFL leaders are pushing for increases in spending for education and other things, and paying for it through tax increases on the wealthiest Minnesotans and/or sales tax increases. I’m all for improving our state’s educational system. However, it might make more sense to wait until the economy further improves to do so.
If gay marriage simply isn’t an issue anymore, and the DFL majority insists on more taxes and more spending this year, Republicans are likely to regain possession of the political football.
Joel Myhre is the publisher of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.