Amendment won’t do anything
Published 9:00 am Monday, May 30, 2011
We all know the legislative session has ended, and we’ll probably see legislators return for a special session. They didn’t pass a budget, but they did pass the marriage amendment bill. So in 2012 voters will be asked to vote yes or no on the definition of marriage. This is an emotionally charged issue, and people may only have pieces of information, not the whole picture.
Minnesota law already limits marriage to one man and one woman. Minnesota law already bans recognition of gay marriages from other states. Voting to change the Constitution will not protect marriage, it will take away civil rights of a group of people.
During the past several days, I have repeatedly heard that the marriage amendment is not personal. Rep. Steve Gottwalt says it’s just policy. He has stated that he expects civil and respectful conversation from people on both sides of the issue.
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What could possibly be more personal than individual rights? This amendment is designed to limit personal freedoms.
As for being respectful, perhaps our legislators should lead the way by modeling such behavior. The day after the House vote, Rep. Cornish of Good Thunder received a letter from a citizen voicing disappointment in legislative priorities, choosing to pursue the marriage amendment instead of focusing on other issues such as the budget. His reply was, “Give it a rest!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
(Full letter can be seen at http://twitpic.com/51a0m3.)
This response is dismissive and fuels the fire of divisiveness and ugliness that is coming to our state. I expect more from our representatives. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to rest for the next 18 months. The Legislature has opened the doors for a campaign frenzy that will be ugly and hurtful.
As Rep. Steve Kelly said, this amendment “is an assault on personal freedom and choice.” It is designed to limit the rights of a group of people — not for everyone, just for a select few. That is the definition of discrimination: making a distinction in favor or against a person based on the group to which he or she belongs rather than on individual merit.
That impacts all of us. The Constitution is supposed to protect citizens equally, not divide them. The Minnesota Constitution says, “No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.”
Voting for this amendment doesn’t do anything to protect marriage. But it does a whole lot of things to take away the rights of some Minnesotans. Voting no on the amendment won’t hurt anyone’s marriage. Voting no will not make gay marriage legal in Minnesota. Voting no will ensure that the Constitution is not being used to discriminate against Minnesotans. In the end, it really comes down to liberty and justice for all. Please visit http://www.minnesotansunitedforallfamilies.org/ to support all people in Minnesota.