Since 1997, a statute has been in place in Minnesota that bans gay and lesbian couples from marrying. In May of 2011, a proposed amendment was introduced that would put into place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the state of Minnesota. Tomorrow, November 6, 2012, Minnesotans will vote on whether or not they believe this proposed amendment should be included in our state constitution.
I am not asking, nor will I ask you, to vote for a specific candidate. But, regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political party, or religious beliefs, I urge you to vote NO to the proposed marriage amendment.
For those of you who are married, I ask you to think of your partner and the love you share and imagine what your life would have been like had you not been allowed to marry. Imagine what your life would have been like had your union not been legally recognized. Imagine the implications it would have on your family, on your finances…on your children.
As a legally married couple, you are allowed to obtain health insurance through your partner. You are allowed to make medical decisions for your partner, in the event that he or she is unable to make those decisions for his or herself. Your partner is legally entitled to Social Security benefits, access to retirement savings, family leave, tax benefits, etc. If you have biological children, you and your partner are both legally recognized as their parents without the need for one partner having to adopt to make the guardianship legal. Same-sex couples currently do not have a legal right to any of these benefits in the state of Minnesota.
As someone who was legally allowed to marry her partner, I cannot imagine the pain of loving someone so much and wanting to spend the rest of your life with him or her, and being legally banned from being able to do so. My husband and I are an interracial couple, and our children are biracial, but we can walk down the street without feeling shame with regard to the makeup of our family. In terms of social norms, our family doesn’t fit into that perfect mold, but we are somehow accepted because my husband is a man and I am a woman. Same-sex couples deserve the right to feel accepted, and they deserve the right to not feel shame with regard to the partner with whom they have chosen to share their life, their love, and their home.
I think of my children and the dreams I have for them. I have no way of knowing who they will be when they grow up, or who they will choose as a life partner. I will love them regardless of whether or not they attend college or become successful in life. I will love them if they are gay and I will love them if they are straight. If one or both of my sons tells me that they are gay, simply by voting no to the marriage amendment tomorrow, I will be able to look them in the eye and tell them that I did my part in supporting a movement that will one day allow them to legally marry their life partner, regardless of whether their partner is a man or a woman. I will be there, and I will support my sons and the choices they make because I love them.
I was raised Catholic, and I have chosen to raise my children in the religion as well. I wholeheartedly agree with some preachings of the church, and I wholeheartedly disagree with others. I love God, and I love Jesus, but I also love my LGBT family members and friends. I refuse to allow my religious beliefs to dictate whether or not I am allowed to love and support my family members and friends and the amazing people I believe they were created to be.
It’s difficult to know whether or not the state of Minnesota will ever legally recognize same-sex unions. My hope is that it will one day become a reality. I do know that I absolutely refuse to support an amendment that would limit the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. You don’t have to necessarily agree with same-sex marriage to vote NO. If there is any part of you—no matter how small, or insignificant it may seem—that feels that it is wrong to keep two people who love each other and wish to spend the rest of their lives together from doing so, then I implore you to vote NO to the marriage amendment.
I am a Catholic, and I am voting NO. I am in a heterosexual marriage, and I am voting NO. I am a parent, and I am voting NO. I ask you to join me tomorrow, November 6, 2012, in voting NO to the proposed marriage amendment, and help Minnesota move one step closer to equality for all couples and all families.
UPDATE: With great pride and love for my fellow Minnesotans, I would like to announce that we CRUSHED the proposed marriage amendment!!