Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vote No.

Last night Krystle and I went to a meeting/training put together by Minnesotans United for All Families regarding the marriage amendment (“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?”) that will be on Minnesota's ballot this November.  I went to the meeting because it's important to me.  I went because if this amendment passes, I will personally feel hurt and disappointed.  It's not about politics or religion, it's about love-the love two people (any two people) share with each other and the love I have for my friends and family (straight and GLBTQ alike).

You may be wondering what the connection is between this amendment and my feelings being hurt.  Allow me to explain.  If Minnesota passes this amendment that out right bans gay marriage, it means people I love and people in the state I love will not be allowed to make the same lifelong commitment I have made to Trevor.  Marriage is already defined as a union between a man and a woman in Minnesota, but this amendment would shut the door on even having that conversation.  It would make it near impossible to legalize gay marriage in the future (of course, we'll never stop trying).  It would make it clear in our constitution that gay marriage is illegal.  Furthermore, it would make it clear to the GLBTQ community that Minnesota does not accept them as equal.  Particularly, any GLBTQ youth out there thinking they may lose all support if they come out have one more reason for that fear to be a reality.  I don't want to be a part of a culture that encourages people to hide who they are.  But if we, as a state, reaffirm that we will not allow gay marriage to the extent that we embed it into our own constitution, that's exactly what we're doing.  And yes, that flat out hurts me.  Bottom line, I just can't imagine the feeling if someone were to tell me I can't marry Trevor for no other reason than his sex.  I can't claim to actually know what that feels like, but just the thought makes me sick to my stomach.  That's the kind of hurt to which I'm referring.

If you're reading this with political or religious reasoning ringing in your ears, let me briefly entertain that.  I don't even want to get into that too much because, like I said, it's not political or religious for me, it's personal, but I will say this: Regarding the political party (conservatives) stance, what happened to a hands-off government?  Even if conservatives oppose gay marriage, isn't this amendment an over-extension of government?  This isn't about legalizing something, it's about constitutionally banning something that's already not legal which just doesn't follow conservative principles.  If we can use the constitution for bans now, what else will we use it to ban in the future?  Don't make this decision for generations to come, let them make the decision for themselves.  Gay marriage issue aside, are we sure we want to go down this path?  Remeber, voting no doesn't give gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.  Regarding the religion stance, what about our freedom to practice religion?  Some religions/religious institutions do not support gay marriage, and it is their right not to perform them.  But many are supportive, and they should be able to practice their religion freely, including the right to marry two parishioners.  Moreover, don't all religions teach treat others as you wish to be treated?  I can't think of anyone who would wish to be told they can't marry the person they love.  That is, once we get past the whole separation of Church and State issue in the first place.  If you're thinking what business is it of yours how I vote, my response is it's very much my business because it greatly affects my life and the people in it.

There were so many wonderful comments and insights at last night's meeting, I wish I had written them all down.  One woman spoke about her own family (her female partner of over 10 years and their daughter).  She shared that her daughter, who has been hearing talk of this amendment everywhere, asked them what will happen to her if this passes? Where will she have to go?  This amendment would send a message that a gay family is not a family and that just doesn't sit well with me.  Another woman spoke about the idea of being recognized as a spouse.  Again, I can't imagine someone telling me I couldn't be by Trevor's side at the hospital because I'm not his spouse...because I'm not allowed to be his spouse.  But that happens to so many people.  It filled my heart to see a room full of friends, colleagues, church members, doctors and former teachers of mine-people of all ages from teenagers,  who aren't even old enough to vote but still want to do their part, to people who had to have been 80+ years old, all with different reasons for being there.  I realize not everyone in Minnesota will vote no, and, honestly, I can live with that.  What I can't live with is people not taking the time to think about what this would mean for me, for themselves and their own loved ones, and for the state of Minnesota.  This affects us all whether we're GLBTQ or not, so please, vote no in November.


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