Loving your neighbors is a big responsibility

Published 11:01 am Thursday, October 18, 2012

Column: Thanks for Listening

My parents sent me to a Catholic school for eight years to get a well-meaning and generous education. They wanted me to receive the benefits of a Christian upbringing that helped teach me the basic Golden Rule of loving your neighbor as yourself. My mom and dad knew that with six children of their own, they would need a bit of heavenly help to instill the qualities they wanted my siblings and I to mirror for not only ourselves, but for our own children.

To honor my parent’s far-sightedness into helping guide my upbringing into becoming a compassionate, loving adult, I will vote no on Nov. 6 to the constitutional marriage amendment that will read: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Minnesota?”

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You see, to love your neighbor like yourself is a big responsibility. It means to put away the childish games of intolerance that involve race, color and sexual orientation. It is to love unconditionally.

Life is hard enough without people trying to enforce what is the best, most acceptable or clear-cut way to do something. Love is too big to be pigeonholed into a cookie cutter way to live it. Love means sacrifice. It means to give your heart to someone who will nurture it and strengthen it. Love means letting go of your insecurities and allowing yourself to be treasured. This loving bond does not have borders, fences or walls, but rather it serves to break them all down.

Love is the acceptance of someone for who and what they are.

I am married and have three children, and I do not and have never felt the uniting of persons of the same sex threatens my understanding of what a marriage is. It is joining two people in love.

A few things that have upset me and that have confused others about this amendment are:

1. People have not been straightforward about what a yes or no vote will actually accomplish:

A yes vote on this amendment would permanently and constitutionally limit the freedom of committed same-sex couples to ever marry in Minnesota, forever excluding future generations from participating in the conversation about marriage. A no vote would not legalize marriage for same-sex couples, but would simply allow the conversation about marriage — and who should have the freedom to participate in it — to continue.

You see, voting no only allows the conversation about marriage to continue. It allows our future generations to have the freedom to have an active dialogue about marriage. A part of my no vote is that I do not wish to block my sons or daughters from ever having the freedom to discuss their own thoughts and ideas.

2. This vote was a political tactic from the start to make us stray from the most important issues facing our state like the economy and job growth. To place the voters of this state in a position to vote on something that is already currently on the books is an irresponsible waste of time, money and important resources that our state can ill afford.

3. This amendment has divided churches, households and friends into choosing sides, when we should all be joining together to help each other through life’s hardships like sickness, poverty and hunger.

I urge you to vote no to something I am sad to even be writing about.


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.