Gay marriage is civil rights issue

Published 9:35 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

During a time when we prepare to celebrate Hubert H. Humphrey’s 100th birthday, we should set aside a few moments to sit and reflect. Hubert H. Humphrey, vice president of the United States from 1965-1969, and twice a United States senator from the state of Minnesota, was one of the biggest advocates of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Humphrey, one of the most outspoken senators in favor of the bill, knew the risks he would take if he supported this outstanding piece of legislation. But in the end, he was willing to stand up for what he thought was right, despite being unpopular in a Senate controlled by staunch anti-civil rights senators. Nonetheless, he took the risk of demolishing his political career to cast his vote in pushing America forward.

Today, we are faced with many challenges in our society, just like the United States was during the 1960s. Same sex marriage, arguably a civil rights issue, is a key example of one of the many conflicts of our era.

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Sen. Humphrey once said, addressing his fellow Democrats at the 1948 National Convention: “For all of us here, for the millions who have sent us, for the whole two billion members of the human family, our land is now, more than ever before, the last best hope on Earth. And I know that we can, and I know that we shall begin here the fuller and richer realization of that hope, that promise of a land where all men are truly free and equal, and each man uses his freedom and equality wisely and well.” Come November of 2012, we have a large decision on our hands. When we go to the polls on Election Day, let us act with the same courage, wisdom and integrity that drove Sen. Humphrey to cast a “yes” ballot on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vote “yes” to allow same sex marriage in Minnesota.

Matt Lunning