Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Same-sex marriage in Minnesota: Your turn to speak up

Your turn to speak up: Same-sex marriage in Minnesota
CORBIS/Philip James Corwin

We've heard plenty from lawmakers in media coverage of the same-sex marriage ban; now it's your turn. There are few more bedrock issues in our lives than whom we choose to love and marry. Let's leave the stump speeches to the politicians and speak in nuanced and thoughtful terms about this issue — you are no doubt already doing this in your homes and with friends. This is an invitation to make that conversation public.

Please share this invitation with your friends, family and colleagues. I'll be reading what you write and pulling some of it up from the comments and into this post to create a living document of the same-sex marriage debate in Minnesota.

See also: Interactive map: Tracking marriage amendment votes

Your Voices

Note: What you see here are excerpts I've chosen from the discussion flourishing in the comments section. Click on a commenter's name and you'll be taken to their full comment. There is much more in the comments and I hope what I share here will only drive you there to read more and to add your voice. We're also sharing comments at our Tumbr blog.

"I see marriage as a civil union, as near as I can tell God doesn't require paper work. I think a good marriage is tough, it doesn't matter if your same gender or opposite genders. I think if two people are committed to making it this kind of commitment to each other then they should have all the tools available to them to forge a lasting link. That includes access to the benefits and obligation conferred by other civil documents on a spouse." - Jody Rooney

"Human beings are born seeking love and the chance to carry that love to another human being. If they are lucky they will find someone compatible and marry ... Same sex? Different sex? Love and commitment know no gender." - Tyra Wahman

"That we have the opportunity to vote on this issue is wrong. We should not have the opportunity to vote on whether people get basic rights. That it is illegal in MN in the first place is wrong." - Rachel Kahler

"The people of Minnesota will really only be deciding how illegal same-sex marriage should be. If the legislature really wanted to give people a choice, they would introduce an amendment that says, "Minnesota will recognize as a marriage a union between two persons without respect to gender." Then if we approve it, same-sex marriage is legal; if we don't, it's illegal. That would be a real choice." - Javen Swanson

"What this bill will do is harm people. It will hurt my family. It will hurt my children. Last night I had to tell my 8-year old that we will probably have to get ready to hear a lot of mean, ugly, hurtful things said about our family – a sustained barrage for the next 18 months." - Kim Klose

"I'm an Iowan by birth, Minnesotan by choice for about 5 years. Needless to say I was beyond proud when my home state took a big step in legalizing same sex marriage. And grossly saddened by the backlash that occured, as represented by the elections last fall. It was a bitter, ugly campaign where one man, Bob Van Der Plaats, took up the cause of banning same sex marriage and spent a lot of money (which was mostly from organizations outside of Iowa) to get rid of 3 judges. I don't want to see this happen in Minnesota. For crying out loud, Minneapolis was just named the most gay friendly city." - Kari Koehler

"I greatly hope that sooner or later somebody is fortunate enough to push a civil rights argument before the Supreme Court and we happen to have a receptive judiciary at the time. It would be nice to give this issue a final resting place beside other previously decided civil rights embarrassments in our past." - Robin Holt

"Yesterday, our state government crashed into my family. In the same day, the Senate voted 1) to put our civil rights up to a vote, inviting our fellow citizens to comment on the rights and limits and value of our relationship; and 2) to cut MinnesotaCare, a program that has made a huge, positive impact on my partner's health and wellbeing. If my partner loses MinnesotaCare, we don't have the options that married couples do when it comes to family health insurance; we'll be hemorrhaging money to ensure basic healthcare access and protection from calamity." - Abigail Henderson

"For me as a mother this debate tears at my heart every day. I want my children to have a beautiful life. I want them to have joy and love in that life. My gay son is nearly 30 now. He has worked tirelessly for equality. He should not have to debate his moral worth as a human being. This terrible amendment will bring that debate into every home in this state. When will my son be able to just live his life in equality?" A rainbow flag is flying in our yard today and will be there throughout this long campaign. May rainbows find their way to every street in this state. I want the young gay people who will feel the greatest burden of this debate to see there are loving and supportive families around them" - Randi Reitan

"We have a gay son ... If he has sex, the GOP would rather he have it outside the sanctity of marriage. Aren't they the party that advocates family values? ... We know what this is really all about: creating a diversionary issue and rallying the base. And for that they will deprive good people of their rights." - Doug Seitz

"I am a divorce attorney. Believe me when I say that straight people have not perfected this marriage thing. Actually, they have made a horrific mess of it. If same-sex couples want in on this messy, complicated, hard, albeit wonderful institution we call marriage, I’m all for it. There’s no way they could diminish the sanctity of marriage more than we straight people already have." - Elizabeth Drotning Hartwell

"My partner Linda and I have been together for almost 25 years. Two years ago we were legally married in Iowa with our sons by our sides. It was one of the most wonderful days of our lives. Our marital rights and responsibilities ended in the middle of a corn field as we crossed the Minnesota Border.

"My sons are two well-adjusted, kind-hearted, engaged Minnesota youth who are active in their church, school, and neighborhood. My oldest son Quintin, 15, watched the news segment from the Senate Judicial Committee on April 29. 2011. With a total look of shock on his face all he could say was 'why are they so mean?' For my family this is not simply a 'divisive issue' that deserves a people’s vote. It strikes to the core of our family, our lives, and our love. It puts our lives up for a vicious public relations campaign and places our access to rights up to a vote by the majority. How can this possibly be good for the Minnesota I love?" - Laura Smidzik

"There was never a more terrifying and humiliating moment in my life than the day before my breast cancer surgery, when I had to rush to update my last will and testament, sign over power of attorney to my partner, Cheryl, and then find a notary to sign it all.

"And there was never a more glorious day than that next afternoon when I woke up in the hospital with Cheryl at my side. This woman saved my life when she married me twenty years ago. She helped me build a home, a family and a business.

"Please vote against the amendment that would ban our chance at civil marriage." - Michele Harris

"I am a gay man who is in a relationship with a wonderful man. We are not among the wealthy. We are barely middle class. I am unable to work because I have Asperger's Syndrome. I am thankfully cared for with help from Hennepin County and my devoted partner who works so very hard at his job, and he is a part time student.

"We are already second class citizens in the sense that we cannot apply for assistance as a family. Because my partner makes too much money he cannot apply for assistance for himself. Yet in Hennepin County in order for me to qualify for a once a year help with paying our rent, I have to submit his income information as my "roommate" to show that he can pay the remainder of the rent for the month we receive help." - Philip Lowe, Jr.

"I feel very strongly that marriage is a social institution that should be reserved for a man and a woman. Please don't label all of us as bigoted conservatives if we don't agree with same sex marriage. I believe that more than anything the semantics of marriage confuse the debate. I am not against the civil rights or legal protections of any individual, rather it is the "tradition" (you don't have to remind me of how marriage has changed over the centuries) of that one man and one woman in which I feel marriage should be defined." - Karl Struck

"I am an ELCA pastor; take that as disclosure in weighing my comments. I do not speak for Christians in general. It's possible I don't speak for Lutherans in general, but I do speak for theologically trained Lutherans. In Lutheran theology marriage is a civic institution, governed by the state. The state determines who can, and who cannot, get married. Thus, in Lutheran theology, the question of same gender marriage is a civic discussion: how shall the state treat same sex couples? As a civic question, it is a question of civil rights. Is it right to deny the benefits awarded by the state to a minority?" - Mark Rittmann

"I am Ian. I am 6. I have 2 moms. I care about other people who have 2 moms or 2 dads, not just about myself. I care about other people! And the communities! We depend on other people. If we aren’t being a community it’s not going to be a country. It’s going to be a de-country. Being a community means help other people. If you aren’t being nice to people, they would be mad." - Ian Rosenburg-Scholl, 6, in a letter to Sen. Warren Limmer

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Comments (79)

I think Sack's cartoon in the Star Tribune on Sunday was pretty much on target for the funny side of the debate.

I see marriage as a civil union, as near as I can tell God doesn't require paper work. I think a good marriage is tough, it doesn't matter if your same gender or opposite genders. I think if two people are committed to making it this kind of commitment to each other then they should have all the tools available to them to forge a lasting link. That includes access to the benefits and obligation conferred by other civil documents on a spouse.

Human beings are born seeking love and the chance to carry that love to another human being. If they are lucky they will find someone compatible and marry.

Some people pull out the bible and interpret it to read as if gender matters in the issue of marriage. I think they are kidding themselves.

If their God is a loving God, he/she will accept the love and commitment of a couple - no matter what their gender may be. Same sex? Different sex? Love and commitment know no gender. The notion that those of us that are heterosexual somehow hold the knowledge of what genders should marry is preposterous. I thought Minnesota was a forward thinking state.

I'm still trying to work out the profit angle on this one. If Prohibition taught us anything, it's that any attempt to legislate or mandate morality creates massive opportunities for organized crime.

"There are few more bedrock issues in our lives than whom we choose to love and marry." Absolutely correct...meanwhile, "There is no relevancy to my life whom someone else chooses to love and marry"...and there's the crux of your issue.

Too many people take their own problems/issues out on others. Everybody talks about accountability and personal responsibility, but rarely follow it in a real sense. If they did, what other people did or did not do wouldn't matter to them and this would be a non-issue. I get a daily email from "The Universe" and this came to my inbox this morning:

"Think of the one area of life that brings you the most discomfort, and that's where you're ripe for growth."

Never fails,
The Universe

In other words, if everybody worked on themselves only there wouldn't be a need to legislate anybody else.

That we have the opportunity to vote on this issue is wrong. We should not have the opportunity to vote on whether people get basic rights. That it is illegal in MN in the first place is wrong.

If marriage is not a basic right, why are we not voting on banning marriage (or forcing divorces) on infertile people, or people of a different race than the majority, or people of the "wrong" religion, or people that are too short/tall, or people with bad hair (I hear Trump was allowed to marry THREE times!), etc., etc., etc.?

"Let the people decide" is a nice talking point, but the reality is that constituents elect legislators to legislate, and they're abdicating their responsibility. The people don't get to vote on other important issues like the budget, whether to raise taxes, whether to go to war, or whether to build a new football stadium. We elect legislators to do that for us. Rather than shirking responsibility, I wish legislators who want to "let the people decide" would just say what they really think, which is that gays and lesbians are second-class citizens who don't deserve equal rights.

Moreover, the people will only be deciding whether to keep same-sex marriage illegal or to make it unconstitutional. (Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Minnesota, so even if this amendment is not adopted, gay couples will not be able to marry.) So the people of Minnesota will really only be deciding how illegal same-sex marriage should be. If the legislature really wanted to give people a choice, they would introduce an amendment that says, "Minnesota will recognize as a marriage a union between two persons without respect to gender." Then if we approve it, same-sex marriage is legal; if we don't, it's illegal. That would be a real choice.

I am so ashamed! How can the state of Paul Wellstone be so close to constitutionally discriminating against a group of people?

I hope that every legislator - and every person who supports this measure - has a gay son or daughter, so that one day, they will have to look their child in the eye and explain themselves.

Allowing voters to decide on the civil rights of an oppressed minority is a dangerous precedent.

32 States have put this proposition on the ballot, in one form or another, and all voted against allowing Gays to marry legally.

I propose Gay Minnesota view this positively - beat this amendment at the polls and the tide will turn. It is entirely possible Minnesota will not accept messing with the private decisions of its fellow citizens. Minnesota has a deep streak of libertarian views regarding ones personal life - Republicans and Independents can be persuaded that the right to marry between Gays is none of our business. The religious right will not change its tune, but they represent less than 20% of the electorate.
Chin up Gay rights folks! This is your opportunity to make history

There is absolutely no reason why gay men and women shouldn't be allowed to marry. Government has no business telling people who they can or cannot marry. If churches choose to discriminate against gays based on their "values," that's their right, I guess. But government has no business imposing religious values on its citizens. With more than half of all marriages ending in divorce--with more than 50% of Americans choosing not to marry at all--with multiple marriages and mixed families now the rule rather than the exception--those who oppose gay marriage are simply sticking their heads in 19th century sand. They need to pull their heads out, look around and recognize that we live in a different time. Tolerance for diverse lifestyle choices is no longer optional; it's required.

Great idea, starting this thread. Since supporters of the bill want Minnesotans to "have a conversation" on the topic, that's exactly what's happening.

My question is, do any legislators who voted aye on the bill actually know a same-sex couple. If they do, how do those legislators justify limiting the rights of these citizens.

My sense is, the "aye" voters either don't know any gay people, or the legislators are unaware that they know gay people.

It is a sad day in Minnesota. I can’t believe it has come to this. The bill designed to let voters write discrimination into the Constitution is a really bad idea. As Senator Dibble said, “this issue doesn’t help a single family in Minnesota, it doesn’t create a single job, and it actually harms our state’s economy and families.” During the Senate session yesterday, when Senator Torres-Ray asked Senator Limmer how this bill would help her marriage (or that of any other person in MN), he replied, “It won’t help your marriage.” So then, what is the point?

What this bill will do is harm people. It will hurt my family. It will hurt my children. Last night I had to tell my 8-year old that we will probably have to get ready to hear a lot of mean, ugly, hurtful things said about our family – a sustained barrage for the next 18 months. Already organizations (from inside and outside) Minnesota are pledging to spend millions of dollars on a media campaign – money that could be better spent elsewhere.

What this bill will do is encourage people to fight amongst themselves, target a group of people as a scapegoat, and distract everyone from the bigger issues – the issues that need our utmost attention – jobs and the economy, protecting the environment, focusing on education, and improving transportation in our state. There are plenty of real issues that impact people's lives that our legislators should be focusing on – solving problems, and creating a better state. This is not it. Creating divisive polices is wrong, and it takes Minnesota in a direction we should not go. We are supposed to be better than that.

There was a time when it was believed that the sun revolved around the earth. We can certainly see today that believing it didn't make it correct, despite how some were terrified and threatened by the different ideas about existence that seemed to them to contradict their religious beliefs. It is wise to note that the sun itself also moves through the galaxy in relative ways, so the lesson is: keep your mind flexible and open if you seek enlightenment. Those seeking this constitutional amendment are not seeking enlightenment, they are trying to stop their own fears from consuming them. Saddest of all, this move will not help them anyway.

In 1633 Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture," and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. Put to a vote, only a very few supporters would have stood up for him at the time. Was it therefore right?

So now some activist legislators, filled with unreasoning fear at the possibility of having their worldview expanded beyond what they can handle, want to carve their position in stone and prevent anyone from proving it wrong. Most especially, they can't tolerate the possibility that living any way other than theirs can work. The constitutional amendment approach to eliminating gay marriage won't prevent any gay relationships and won't stop society from gradually unclenching it's fist toward the gay community. It's just an shameful episode we'll have to live down. Demanding that people accept only one possible way of thinking won't work any better now than it did in 1633. It's very sad and it makes me think about all the people I've known who have been damaged and hurt by varying degrees of child abuse, and then have internalized the pain and viciously attacked those who point out how they are re-creating their trauma.

I'm straight and married. A warning to the far right on this issue: the generation that is coming up now is vastly more free of prejudice regarding sexual orientation than their elders, and your foolish efforts here are all for nothing in the end. You waste our time and embarrass us all with your shrilling over nothing. As for me: some things in life are scary and have to be watched closely lest they affect me and my family. Gay marriage is simply not among them, so there's no reason not to just live and let live, even if you don't support the rights of others. I have yet to hear anyone make a serious case for how the marriage of any two other people can harm anyone else in the world.

Frankly, there appears to be a counter argument for every argument, but for me it just boils down to what is the RIGHT thing to do. If two people are in a loving relationship and want to cement that relationship (whether it's for legal or personal reasons), then they should be free to do so. It's not about sexual relationships (which I think is what the arguments against it are about) - it's about permanent relationships. Stable family life. Children. Grandchildren. Legacies. Why should one group in our society be denied the joy the rest of us enjoy?

I have a feeling our children will shake their heads at this debate someday soon.

More action from the House and Senate to create jobs and tackle the deficit.

i'm reassured that all the comments (so far) are against this legislation passing. and rightfully so. it is wrong, wrong, wrong to try to legislate someone else's rights.

I'm an Iowan by birth, Minnesotan by choice for about 5 years. Needless to say I was beyond proud when my home state took a big step in legalizing same sex marriage. And grossly saddened by the backlash that occured, as represented by the elections last fall. It was a bitter, ugly campaign where one man, Bob Van Der Plaats, took up the cause of banning same sex marriage and spent a lot of money (which was mostly from organizations outside of Iowa) to get rid of 3 judges.
I don't want to see this happen in Minnesota. For crying out loud, Minneapolis was just named the most gay friendly city.
I feel as a straight ally I have a duty to my fellow humans to speak up- I see civil rights being infringed upon and not saying or doing anything makes me a part of the problem.
And I know some people are turned off by using the term "civil rights" because of the memories/ideas it conjures up from our collective history as a nation. But if you get down to it, civil rights are the rights of everyone- voting, going to the same school, sitting where you want on a bus- and getting married. What scares me about putting this to a vote of the people is that just because a lot of people believe something doesn't make it right/just/a good idea. What if we had put school integration or voting rights for African Americans to a vote in the Deep South? Would they have done the right thing as a population and abolish these unjust practices? While it can't be said definitively (as hindsight is 20/20), there is a good amount of evidence that shows that they would have chosen to keep segregation, chosen to keep a group of people second class citizens just because of the color of their skin.
And now, we are telling an entire group of people that just because they love someone of the same sex, they are second class citizens who deserve less rights. While I'm not religious at all, doesn't that seem just a little judgemental, something that good Christians would know is only for God to exercise?
I don't think I need to get into how religion has no place in government- so any justification for this amendment must fall outside of religious parameters. I'm sure it will be brought up time again by others.
While I'm no expert on how government runs, I don't understand why this amendment needs to come to a public vote. Isn't the whole idea of our government that we elect people that we trust understand the system and can best represent our beliefs? I would trust my legislative representatives would have similar views on this issue, that's why I voted for them. I take the time to stay informed on the world around me, I feel it is my civic duty and in turn makes me an informed voter. While we can't require this of everyone, it's like the legislature is saying, "I know you voted for me, but let's face it, you people aren't informed enough. Your apathy makes me wonder if I can make a sound decision, so I'll just throw the responsibility back on you."
In closing, I was lucky enough to attend a same sex wedding of a family member in Iowa this past winter. It was so moving, as most weddings are when two people who are truly in love make such a committment. But it was also moving to be witness to something that I *wish* was everywhere- the right to marry who you love. So simple. Yet has been made to be so complicated.

Civil rights are not a voting issue. At what point in time did Minnesota constituents get to vote on whether or not hetersexual couples could marry? Or divorce for that matter?

Having the majority decide civil rights for a minority is ridiculous. I am convinced that if we asked voters to vote on existing civil rights that many would be overturned. That is not right but it is how people feel.

Lastly, when our government takes a religious ceremony and creates legal rights and benefits that attach to it, it is a civil issue and should be provided equally to all civilians. We do not govern baptism, first communion, confirmations, funerals, etc. These are religious ceremonies and rights-of-passages that are fully independent of law, rights and benefits. The church and its parish can decide whatever they want in those instances, including declining my request to partake, I am completely fine with that because that is their perogative and there is no legal or financial consequence to me. Depriving me of marriage which has a tremendous impact on my life, my partner, our childen and extended families.

I am disgusted to be a Minnesotian right now. This shouldn't even be an issue. It will do nothing to solve the budget, in fact, legalizing same sex marriage would bring in more money for the state. If they don't like same sex marriage, then they shouldn't be in one. You don't put bigotry and hate into the constitution because you are afraid of something. You learn about it. This is a step back for mankind.
Ignorance breeds Fear, Fear breeds Hate and Hate Kills.
I have written every member of the Rules committee in hopes that someone will listen.

Perhaps the argument over same-sex marriage is a fight over the term “marriage.” The current argument stems from different understandings of a word. Does marriage mean a sacred/religious/sacramental institution or a legal contract? Currently it is both secular and religious and therein is the conflict.

The recent defense of “marriage” at the legislature by several religious leaders clearly demonstrated that that faction believes that marriage is a religious institution yet the desire for certain legal and social rights suggests a more contractual desire. If people want a legal contract with all the associated recognized rights then perhaps the state shouldn’t be involved in giving out marriage licenses. Can we find another term for the secular contract? How about Civil Union? Governmental agencies can give out Civil Union (or some other term) contracts. If people want their union recognized as blessed or sacred then find a non secular formal or informal means to do so separate from a governmental entity. The fight over who owns the term “marriage” may fall under the issue of separation of church and state.

Anti-LGBT bigotry is not consistent with Christianity or with Minnesota values. I will be providing my leadership in the following ways:
- Being a co-chair for the HRC Dinner Auction
- Creating a website to target businesses and organizations that support Republican legislators
- Creating a campaign to mobilize youth and young adults to hold their parents accountable.
- Creating a campaign to address churches that support bigotry and work to have them actually be consistent with God's love.

I'm mad as hell... and I'm damn good at what I do. I grew up in the conservative Christian world. I know their language and I know their weaknesses.

However, I don't want them to be afraid in the sense they will be harmed. I want them to be afraid to act shamefully and abusively because they know they will be held to account. I want them to no longer feel comfortable in their demonstrative prejudice.

Love will win. We WILL have a society where all people are held as sacred, equal and worthy children of God.

Dear Senators

Why are you wasting taxpayer time and energy with this? Maybe after you have a budget complete, and all the other legislative hurdles jumped, you can dabble in messing up people lives, but really this isn't the time.

If morality is your 'concern' why not make divorce illegal? Gambling? Oh, becasue *you* can make money at those endeavors. Think of this as an opportunity, cater to gay weddings/divorces!

Why does the party of "less government" in people's lives only refer to straight Christians?

For me it is simply a separation of church and state. I feel that the government is basing the same-sex marriage laws on what they are interpreting the bible reads on the issue. In a country that is a melting pot of spirituality, we cannot continue basing our laws on spiritual beliefs. If two people of the same sex love each other and want to spend their lives with one another, does that harm anyone else? No. I have problems with drunk drivers who are able to reapply for their license. THEY could have killed someone. Same sex couples have every right to share in the privileges that heterosexual married couples share. The crime is discriminating against them simply because, what? Really, what is the reason?

I feel very strongly that this issue reflects very poorly on our current political/business climate and doesn't accurately portray what the majority of people feel. It is beyond time to create a welcoming and open environment where ALL people are treated as equals. In my mind, same sex marriage is a basic right and should be assumed. What earthly possible reason do we have to oppose it? How does it threaten ANY one? It should include EVERYone, or NO one! We should be focusing on other issues in our world today.

In my mind, there are currently two kinds of unions of people: religious ones (marriages) and civil ones (buying a license, filing taxes together, etc). My church (the UCC) marries couples who love each other, regardless of gender or sex. My state doesn't recognize those marriages as valid civil unions, which makes me sad. I feel we need to split the religious from the secular because the objections to same-sex civil marriages are based in religion, and when it's about offering protection to families through government recognition of a shared life, that's not religious. Have every couple get a civil union license and get married in a religious service if they want. This amendment is a waste of time (same-sex marriage is already illegal, yall) and will be a waste of money. Think of the poor we could feed with the millions that will be spent on a divisive battle.

I greatly hope that sooner or later somebody is fortunate enough to push a civil rights argument before the Supreme Court and we happen to have a receptive judiciary at the time. It would be nice to give this issue a final resting place beside other previously decided civil rights embarrassments in our past. Until then, I will continue to vote against any constitutional amendment at the state level and against legislators that will not take action to remove the current law from our State's books.

Yesterday, our state government crashed into my family. In the same day, the Senate voted 1) to put our civil rights up to a vote, inviting our fellow citizens to comment on the rights and limits and value of our relationship; and 2) to cut MinnesotaCare, a program that has made a huge, positive impact on my partner's health and wellbeing.

If my partner loses MinnesotaCare, we don't have the options that married couples do when it comes to family health insurance; we'll be hemorrhaging money to ensure basic healthcare access and protection from calamity.

I am so hurt and shocked by these violations into what feels like an intimate and sacred part of our lives. I was at the Capitol yesterday, and I just kept thinking, "You people don't even *know* me! You have no idea what I've been through, what I hope for, where I'm going..." How dare they use their power to make uninformed decisions that impact the bodies and lives of other people but not themselves.

I'm so incredibly thankful for the terrific Senators who spoke out in support of LGBT people and poor people--which, incidentally, are not mutually exclusive groups.

The percentage of people who support equal rights for gay people in MN has been steadily going up for 10 years. Currently the people who oppose marriage equality outnumber the people who support it by a narrow margin, but younger voters strongly support equal rights for gay people and voters of all ages are steadily getting more supportive of the idea as they get more exposure to the issue. Nobody on either side of the issue could tell you with a straight face that they didn't know that in 10 years a significant majority of the state will support marriage equality. The writing is on the wall and everybody knows it. So, what the GOP is trying to do is lock the state in to their current position before their support fails. They're trying to sandbag the moral development of the state and that is just plain wrong regardless of what somebody personally thinks about the issue.

Our family has a beloved gay member so this constitutional amendment affects us very personally. The gay community does not have the right to marry in this state so this Republican constitutional amendment just chisels the discrimination they already face in stone.

Phil and I have been married for nearly 39 years. Our marriage is precious to us. We want for our four children what we have been blessed to live out in our years together. Our marriage has been our foundation, our sanctuary, our joy. We have been blessed beyond measure with dear children.

Our three oldest children have found love and we have rejoiced at their weddings. Jake, our youngest son, was best man for his brothers. When our daughter married she didn't have a maid of honor, she asked Jake to be her man of honor. They all love Jake dearly and have worked to see the day of equality for him. They will rejoice when he finds love with another man.

I have a hard time understanding any person who has been blessed with a good marriage wanting to deny that blessing to another couple. It just seems cruel and selfish. Why wouldn't you want for another what you have been so blessed to enjoy in your life.

I have a strong faith in a God who loves us all. I have a hard time understanding people who believe in a loving God but then use their religion to make a group of people lesser children of God. We have heard from so many young gay people who have been rejected by their friends and families because of their family's faith.

I have a hard time understanding why we can't learn from history. Why we as a people can't learn to love and accept the wonderful diversity in our world. Why does there always have to "the other" ... "the outcasts" ... "the lesser children of God" .... why can't we simply be human beings living together on this planet with respect for all.

For me as a mother this debate tears at my heart every day. I want my children to have a beautiful life. I want them to have joy and love in that life. My gay son is nearly 30 now. He has worked tirelessly for equality. He should not have to debate his moral worth as a human being. This terrible amendment will bring that debate into every home in this state. When will my son be able to just live his life in equality?

The gay community has worked hard to see a day of equality. They have done it with patience and grace. The Republican's marriage amendment will bring us to a whole new dimension. "Minnesota nice" will be no more as our airwaves divide this state with advertisements meant to bring fear and untruths about people I love and hold dear. Just look at the NOM ads now playing in New York. NOM knows that fear brings out the vote and they will bring that fear to Minnesota.

Families with gay members will feel the pain of this debate every day. I will never be silent on this issue. I will expect my friends and family to speak out against this shameful constitutional amendment. The next 18 months will be grueling and ugly. May you never forget the Republican legislators who gave us this amendment and the debate that will swirl around it until November 2012.

A rainbow flag is flying in our yard today and will be there throughout this long campaign. May rainbows find their way to every street in this state. I want the young gay people who will feel the greatest burden of this debate to see there are loving and supportive families around them.

We have a gay son. He works hard, is smart, cares deeply, pays his taxes without complaint, votes, and would be a great partner and father, if and when that happens. He's a good person in every sense of the word. And yet the GOP does not want him to have the most basic right of all, the right to marry the person of his choosing.

If he has sex, the GOP would rather he have it outside the sanctity of marriage. Aren't they the party that advocates family values?

But we know what this is really all about: creating a diversionary issue and rallying the base. And for that they will deprive good people of their rights.

Nice people, that GOP.

First and foremost: I support the rights of gay people to marry. I will, without a doubt, vote against this amendment. My best hope is that Minnesotans vote against it and the people proposing it.

That said, this amendment simply reiterates and strengthens current state and federal law. What, really, is its practical purpose?

Its practical purpose is to distract everyone from the budget debate, which the GOP is losing badly. The Republican majority is unable to balance the budget with cuts only, not without imposing unacceptably heavy burdens on the same people who voted for them. Their only recourse is to get people worked up about something else. In a hugely cynical move, they have dragged out the old gay marriage ban once again.

I support the GLBT community, but I think we on the left need to recognize that this amendment is a red herring, and we need to resist the urge to focus on it to the neglect of other issues. Democrats absolutely must keep public attention on the economy and the fiasco that the Republicans have made of the budget process.

I can't help but thinking that all the wonderful, heartfelt speeches spoken and words written in support of same-sex marriage are for naught. I believe the Constitutional Amendment has nothing to do with any inherent social problem or moral issue that needs addressing. This amendment is the core of the Republican electoral strategy in 2012. They simply cannot afford to risk losing millions of dollars of Get Out the Vote money that will now be pouring into our state. Every dollar NOM or some other anti-gay group spends to turn out conservative voters means a dollar saved for the Minnesota Republican Party. I honestly do not believe that most Minnesota Republican politicians care about the amendment beyond its use as a fundraising tool. In other words, venality is the dynamic involved, not the institution of marriage, not what constitutes a loving relationship or a nurturing family, or a fair and just society.
And I don't know how to overcome venality.

"It is one of the fundamental principles of the Supreme Court's Establishment Clause jurisprudence that the Constitution forbids not only state practices that "aid one religion . . . or prefer one religion over another," but also those practices that "aid all religions" and thus endorse or prefer religion over nonreligion." This information is from the ACLU website: http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/establishment-clause-and-schools-leg...

Can people justify this anti-marriage equality stance without using the words "God" or "Christian Values," without appealing to some specific literalistic interpretation of an obscure Biblical passage?

In the end I agree with Ayn Rand when she wrote in Collectivized Rights (1961): “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities...”
These sentiments find historical precedent in the thoughts of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Stuart Mill, and Alexis de Tocqueville--some of the very people who greatly influenced the US government and/or helped to establish it.

I wonder if those so-called Christians and conservative minds that are channeling so much time, energy, and resources into legalizing hatred could possibly put the same considerable amount of attention, thought, creative problem solving, intelligence, time, energy, and resources into solving some REAL problems in Minnesota such as a crumbling educational system, some of the worst racial disparities IN THE COUNTRY, a crisis of unemployment, a costly and troublesome healthcare system, and one of the worst public transit systems in the country. After ILLEGALLY (according to the US Constitution) passing this amendment would we have a better educational system in Minnesota? Would there be anymore jobs created? Would there be a better public transit system? Since marriage is already defined as between a man and a woman in Minnesota, will the average Minnesotans life (gay or straight) be changed in any tangible way--beyond feeling the force of a legalized hatred? Would we have access to more affordable housing? More affordable post-secondary options? Qualitatively will our lives be enriched in any way by this legalized hatred?

What does it reflect about our society that we are hyper focused on this issue--which really comes down to religious intolerance and hatred-- when everyday people of all sexual orientations are struggling underneath the weight of an unjust, repressive economic tax system and we are burdening future generations with our irresponsible ecological legacy?

And finally if we are going to argue in religious terms why do the passages quoted by many hate-filled anti-marriage equality proponents trump or overpower these: Romans 13:10 - "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

John 13:35 - "By this people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Eph 4:1-4: "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Mat 7:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged."

Bible versus are English Standard Version from the blueletterbible.org

I contend that one ought not take any of the singular parts of the Christian Bible (written over a period of thousands of years and interpreted through multiple languages, cultures, places and times) and use it as justification to do harm to others.

If you are going to call yourself Christian you ought care more about loving people (and what that looks like is NOT legalizing your personal hatred in an amendment denying the right to marry) and you ought to care less about what other people do with their private parts when it doesn't hurt anyone-in fact I think we need more not less people in the world like the gay couple from New York who have been together monogamously for 61 years! Oh and the loving Christian thing to do would be to give them the same legal and political rights to marry considering that straight folks really aren't more ethical or moral people but just do something different with their private parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-0436fi780&feature=youtu.be

I have friends in Canada that are gay married and my uterus works just fine. This vote is bigoted and a waste of time and resources. The last time I checked couples have to pay for a marriage license so enjoy the revenue. I'm pretty sure there are more pressing issues than this.

I am Luke Stevens-Royer, a graduate of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, a life long Minnesotan from a humble, small town southern Minnesota upbringing, currently living in St. Paul and a religious leader and youth worker.

I work every week with adolescents to help them make responsible, healthy, respectful choices in their lives, including in issues of sexuality and relationships. These are the central values in relationships: love, commitment, reverence.

We live in a diverse society. What I fail to understand is the willingness of some to vote to define marriage which will limit the privileges of some with no direct adverse reality for themselves. I am a straight male, married to my wife Jenna for four years, and we have higher hopes for our beloved state, and we expect good leadership to celebrate the diversity of our society. Our democratic values affirm that we can disagree with another and yet all share the same rights and privileges.

While my views of inclusion are rooted in a religious understanding, and I have thoroughly studied the biblical verses that many refer to when condemning homosexuality and have found them to condemn only sexual violence and infidelity as compared to same sex relationships, my hope for Minnesota is based in shared democratic values of freedom and liberty for all.

That is what I learned growing up here in Minnesota - please vote for our values of liberty and justice for all, not only the few. Please vote against this constitutional amendment - do not put liberty and justice up for a vote.

The concept of “traditional” marriage as it is being presented is a very new one. It’s only been in the last century that marriage has been between one man and one woman who are consenting adults in love. Prior to that, it was much more common that marriage took place between one man and multiple women, or a man and a girl in exchange for property. So this notion that marriage is a sacred, unchanging concept is simply inaccurate.

I am a divorce attorney. Believe me when I say that straight people have not perfected this marriage thing. Actually, they have made a horrific mess of it. If same-sex couples want in on this messy, complicated, hard, albeit wonderful institution we call marriage, I’m all for it. There’s no way they could diminish the sanctity of marriage than we straight people already have.

And if you can’t get on board because you love and support same-sex couples and want them to have the same basic rights we all have... then get on board because of the constitutional argument. Constitutions are supposed to enlarge rights, not constrain them.

I am a mother of two sons, Quintin (15) and Corbin (13). My sons are two well-adjusted, kind-hearted, engaged Minnesota youth who are active in their church, school, and neighborhood. My partner Linda and I have been together for almost 25 years. Two years ago we were legally married in Iowa with our sons by our sides. It was one of the most wonderful days of our lives. Our marital rights and responsibilities ended in the middle of a corn field as we crossed the Minnesota Border.
I am the previous executive director of Rainbow Families (an organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families and their children) and also served as executive director of Project 515. Both of these roles gave me keen insight into what happens in states where there is a ballot initiative restricting marriage rights. The other night at dinner I began to describe to my sons how the TV and radio waves will be bought up by national organizations with a history of pushing these ballot measures. I told them that they can expect to see bumper stickers on their friend’s cars; have their family’s value debated in their social studies classes; and see lawn signs with campaign messages encouraging people to vote against rights for their parents. The kids began to reflect on their friends and friends’ parents in order to determine who would vote in support or against us. It was a challenging and saddening family conversation.
“Let the People Vote” (the pro constitutional amendment campaign’s slogan) sounds so American—so democratic. Voting to keep the long-standing “definition” of marriage seems like a simple and harmless vote. However, the reality is that this ends up on the ballot will not open the door for a “civil” Minnesotan conversation about values— it will open the storm gates to more advertising money than Minnesotan’s have ever seen. The mean-spirited ads will come into our homes and will break my sons’ hearts. Relationships of families, friends, neighbors and colleagues across the state will be strained. If the amendment passes it will be a symbol to those across the nation that Minnesotans chose to restrict rights versus protect or grant them. Minnesotan businesses which pride themselves in diversity and equality will be at a distinct disadvantage in terms of recruitment and retention of fair-minded employees.
My oldest son, Quintin, watched the news segment from the Senate Judicial Committee on April 29. 2011. With a total look of shock on his face all he could say was “why are they so mean?” For my family this is not simply a “divisive issue” that deserves a people’s vote. It strikes to the core of our family, our lives, and our love. It puts our lives up for a vicious public relations campaign and places our access to rights up to a vote by the majority. How can this possibly be good for the Minnesota I love?

It's not gay marriage. It's a question of marriage. Period. Get your religion out of my state!!

I am a mother of two sons, Quintin (15) and Corbin (13). My sons are two well-adjusted, kind-hearted, engaged Minnesota youth who are active in their church, school, and neighborhood. My partner Linda and I have been together for almost 25 years. Two years ago we were legally married in Iowa with our sons by our sides. It was one of the most wonderful days of our lives. Our marital rights and responsibilities ended in the middle of a corn field as we crossed the Minnesota Border.

I am the previous executive director of Rainbow Families (an organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families and their children) and also served as executive director of Project 515. Both of these roles gave me keen insight into what happens in states where there is a ballot initiative restricting marriage rights. The other night at dinner I began to describe to my sons how the TV and radio waves will be bought up by national organizations with a history of pushing these ballot measures. I told them that they can expect to see bumper stickers on their friend’s cars; have their family’s value debated in their social studies classes; and see lawn signs with campaign messages encouraging people to vote against rights for their parents. The kids began to reflect on their friends and friends’ parents in order to determine who would vote in support or against us. It was a challenging and saddening family conversation.

“Let the People Vote” (the pro constitutional amendment campaign’s slogan) sounds so American—so democratic. Voting to keep the long-standing “definition” of marriage seems like a simple and harmless vote. However, the reality is that this ends up on the ballot will not open the door for a “civil” Minnesotan conversation about values— it will open the storm gates to more advertising money than Minnesotan’s have ever seen. The mean-spirited ads will come into our homes and will break my sons’ hearts.

Relationships of families, friends, neighbors and colleagues across the state will be strained. If the amendment passes it will be a symbol to those across the nation that Minnesotans chose to restrict rights versus protect or grant them. Minnesotan businesses which pride themselves in diversity and equality will be at a distinct disadvantage in terms of recruitment and retention of fair-minded employees.

My oldest son, Quintin, watched the news segment from the Senate Judicial Committee on April 29. 2011. With a total look of shock on his face all he could say was “why are they so mean?” For my family this is not simply a “divisive issue” that deserves a people’s vote. It strikes to the core of our family, our lives, and our love. It puts our lives up for a vicious public relations campaign and places our access to rights up to a vote by the majority. How can this possibly be good for the Minnesota I love?

Classic Republican "shiny object" tactic. Forget that we have a complex budget issue and just focus on a diversionary social issue. GET TO WORK ON WHAT MATTERS TO ALL MINNESOTANS! Balance the budget, get Minnesotans back to work, protect the most vulnerable amongst us including seniors, those in poverty and children. Rally us around something positive that we can all put our energy into: creating a better Minnesota for everyone. That's what real leaders do.

There was never a more terrifying and humiliating moment in my life than the day before my breast cancer surgery, when I had to rush to update my last will and testament, sign over power of attorney to my partner, Cheryl, and then find a notary to sign it all.

And there was never a more glorious day than that next afternoon when I woke up in the hospital with Cheryl at my side. This woman saved my life when she married me twenty years ago. She helped me build a home, a family and a business.

Please vote against the amendment that would ban our chance at civil marriage.

In the heyday of bans on interracial marriage, a vote would have gone the same way this one is likely to go. The bigots who started this hide behind the issue of voter choice to mask the hatred in their hearts. I work with many generally decent, but imperfect people who have been taught over the years to give at least lip service to the idea of acceptance but this campaign will feed that dark, ugly little spot that still exists in their hearts.

The hypocrisy is almost comical, these people who want to "let the people decide" this issue and the voter ID issue, two solutions seeking their problems, these people won't "let the people decide" a real issue like a referendum on a new stadium. Why because in all cases they take the path that will get them the results they want.

I am opposed to SF1308. Why?

...because it is wrong to use the state constitution to sidestep the courts.

...because one political party or political movement shouldn't be able to enshrine their sociopolitical or religious beliefs in the state constitution.

...because the state should not have laws that favor any religion's belief system (i.e., the belief that homosexuality or same-sex marriage is "morally wrong").

...because the public has a history of making emotionally charged decisions based on misunderstanding, fear, and intolerance (see minority and women's voting rights, and interracial marriage).

...because putting discriminatory language in our state constitution goes against everything the state constitution stands for.

It is my opinion that the proponents of this amendment believe they know exactly how the public will vote, which is why they want to bring it to the public in the first place. This amendment is about one group of people attempting to keep same-sex couples from getting legally married because of their personal religious convictions. This kind of political activity is fundamentally un-American.

I am in favor of equality for all. I am in favor of religious freedom of expression for all as is protected in our state constitution.

WHAT A WASTE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS THIS IS!

Why hasn't anyone pointed out that the state legislature is spending what will probably add up to be millions of TAXPAYER dollars in an attempt to abate the irrational fears of an ignorant minority?

Please calculate this cost and run an article that list the total cost of this fiasco so that we can send the bill to the non-taxpaying churches!

I honestly cannot comprehend these drastically different arguments coming from the same group of people.

1. Stay out of our corporate lives, government shouldn't control our insurance, businesses, or anything else that has to do with our lives. Heck, don't even answer your census because it's the government trying to get into your life!

2. The government should come into your life and tell you what is right and what is wrong.

How about we just do what is right; which is (whether you are religious or not) to treat others the way you want to be treated.

I am a gay man who is in a relationship with a wonderful man. We are not among the wealthy. We are barely middle class. I am unable to work because I have Asperger's Syndrome. I am thankfully cared for with help from Hennepin County and my devoted partner who works so very hard at his job, and he is a part time student.

We are already second class citizens in the sense that we cannot apply for assistance as a family. Because my partner makes too much money he cannot apply for assistance for himself. Yet in Hennepin County in order for me to qualify for a once a year help with paying our rent, I have to submit his income information as my "roommate" to show that he can pay the remainder of the rent for the month we receive help.

This amendment if passed, will only make us even more second class citizens. It will create one more legal barrier that we will have to climb out of to achieve equality as LGBT people. This is so wrong.

Included in this amendment is the denial of the rights of LGBT people to care for the critical medical needs of their partners. They cannot visit each other in their hour of death. We do not now as is, but would not have the ability to identify our partner's deceased remains in the event of our partner's death. We would be denied the opportunity to claim any part of our late partner's belongings, money or otherwise. Even with all the legal documents signed and paid for.

No American should ever be put through the horrible things that LGBT people experience. Yet in America, in Minnesota we are. Now is the time to turn forward towards equality for LGBT people, not enshrine prejudice into Minnesota's State Constitution.

May Minnesota with it's good hearted people, defeat this amendment with all of their powerful voices and votes. Let Minnesota be the State that celebrates equality and diversity. Not turns us back to segregation and divisiveness.

I think this amendment is an extremely ugly and underhanded attack on Minnesota families. It makes me sad--for myself, but more importantly, for my children. I wrote about my feeling on the topic recently here:

http://chroniclesofacluelessmom.blogspot.com/2011/05/promise-of-better-t...

I expected so much more from Minnesota.

I keep wondering what would have happened to the progression of Women's Rights in the early 1900's, or the Civil Rights movement in the 60's, if lawmakers hadn't had the BALLS to stand up for the rights of all citizens, and instead left it up to popular vote. It's amazing to me that this is still an issue. ALL citizens should have the same rights, no exceptions. Laws should not be made that rely on the maxims of any religious bias, because we do not all believe in the same God or gods, and some of our citizens do not believe in any god at all. Yet we all deserve the same respect. Marriage under the law is not a religious matter; it is a lawful one. Marriage is a contract agreed upon by two individuals who under the law are legally able to enter into said contract. That means that any two individuals who are lawfully able to enter into contracts should be allowed to enter into the contract of marriage. How is it even fair to ask me to vote on whether or not my neighbor has a basic civil right? I don't want that responsibility, it's none of my business!

It is absolutely wrong that this bill has passed. Now that it has, the focus must be to get every person who opposes it to get to the ballot box. There can be no exception. If you support the rights of those that this bill targets, you must get out and vote against it. You know that every right-wing church, talk radio host and hate gays group will be trucking in their voters.
Be active, get out there, get this bill voted down.
This is not acceptable to Minnesotans. We can't live in a state with a constitution that denies basic human rights to its citizens.

The unanimous voice of the comments here demonstrates the left-leaning readership of MinnPost. It also pretty much guarantees that those social conservatives who do read the site will not offer their opinions here, as the highly charged emotional tone of many of the posters is a clear indication of the verbal assault they will receive if they do.

All we've gotten so far are the "stump speeches" the post's author asked readers to avoid. Unfortunately a reasoned, civilized debate can't take place under these circumstances. Mr. Guntzel will not get a "living document of the same-sex marriage debate in Minnesota." What we have here is an echo chamber.

I'm sad today.

My partner and I have been together for 13 years. She's my best friend and my partner in all things...much as your spouse is to you.

We pay our taxes willingly, vote in every election, mow our lawn, shovel our snow (and occasionally, that of our neighbor's), spend a large percentage of our time volunteering, work in human service-type professions and love one another.

Because of that love, we've spent years hearing from "loving" religious people how dangerous we are. Because of that love, her family has turned her out. Because of that love, we pay more financially for nearly everything: insurance, taxes, basic legal protection for our relationship, memberships, you name it. Because of that love, if one of us died, the other would pay estate taxes completely disproportionate to that of a straight couple. It has the potential to significantly impact our (theoretical) retirement.

Because of that love, we've had to fight for our relationship within our family, within our church body, at hospitals and in hundreds of small ways. We've had to hide it when we didn't want to. We've had to worry about where we go and whether or not it's safe to hold hands in public places.

We're both endeavoring to leave the world better than we found it. The prospect of listening to 18 months of pointed vitriol as a voter-turnout mechanism for the Republican party, as a distraction from lack of meaningful legislation from our state lecture...that's pretty hard to swallow.

Minnesota is better than this.

And, not incidentally, ask any California leader how that government-by-constitutional-amendment thing is working out for them. Ask anyone in ANY kind of minority how they feel about the precedent of the majority getting to vote on their civil rights. Seems pretty dangerous to me in both general and very personal terms.

This is a bad thing. I'm truly, deeply disappointed in my state.

Reading through the previous comments, I am humbled by the good will and generosity of some of my fellow Minnesotans. I agree with so many of you.
Legislators need to work through issues that are not up for a vote... budget, taxes, etc. How did marriage definition (one that excludes so many) become something that could even be considered being written into our CONSTITUTION? I guess someone in the crowd had way too much time and money to work with, and decided that spreading hate and discrimination was the way to go. So sad that those our taxes pay salaries for waste their time with such an inane concept. As if they are really hoping that Minnesotans are going to vote to support the ideal that I uphold that any two consenting adults be afforded the legal right to enter into a committed union of love to build a family and a future. If that is the goal, I'd support it all the way. But since many who represent an opposing view are sponsoring and supporting this idea, I see it as a tactic to spread hate, fear and waste a lot of taxpayer money. And isn't THAT one of the hotbutton issues this year, the BUDGET? I'd love for my legislators to justify how much time and effort they've spent on this. THAT would be some good information.

After all the comments have been made about same sex marriage, we should remember that a marriage in America is a legal process whereby two individuals get a license and an accredited pastor/preacher performs a celebration of the signing of this document the marriage is legal and both parties have rights as defined by law.

Depending on the culture of the two people, a marriage ceremony is conducted. These ceremonies range from the simple (like a "kegger") to a lavish, expensive event. With this in mind we should separate the legal process of getting married in the eyes of the law and if the participants want to have a celebratory party, then let the fun begin. The event of celebrating a marriage varies based on the culture of those involved. For whatever reason we mix the two parts together and forget the real reason for the marriage (because some involved get so drunk that they cannot remember even their own name or the names of those getting married.)

There are more pressing problems today than the worry about who marries who, so why not focus on the real problems we have today.

Would really like it if MN could be the state to really get the ball rolling on the gay marriage issue. Let's vote NO people and just let people love who they want to love and raise their kids in happy, healthy, protected homes.

Outlawing non-procreational marriage would seem a sensible solution. A good test for marriage eligibility then would be if you're already pregnant. If not, then just keep trying.
Civil unions would then be a good alternative for anyone who wishes to join in a loving relationship with another without bearing children.
Obviously this solution wouldn't help those who wish to decide for others what their sex lives should consist of. Maybe those people just have too much time on their hands.
Here's an idea, JOBS for everyone. Lets fix up the economy and employ those idle hands in something less distructive to the community.

The hypocrisy of the Republicans never ceases to amaze me. A cornerstone of the Republican platform is less government involvement in our lives. Yet, they strive to regulate the two most private things between people: marriage and abortion. I'm not trying to go down the abortion road here, which would take away from the focus of the gay marriage issue--it's just another example of the hypocrisy.

The proposed amendment protects absolutely no one. It does not create jobs or attract visitors and would be Minnesotans to our state. It does hurt, a lot, being vulnerable, unprotected. I can’t lie and say “please just leave us alone and let us live life as we have it now” because that is not what I want either. I wish it were enough.

It isn’t. I don’t have a gay agenda, I have a love agenda. I have a are-you-kidding-me-I-am-not-a-threat-to-your-marriage-agenda. I believe that by allowing Karen and I equal protection under the law, we can be more beneficial, more productive, more honest members of our community, our society and our world. May it be so.

read the whole thing here http://tinyurl.com/3dtegk7

Tony (#51), I know it's hard to do so, because it will challenge your assumptions, but I urge you to actually read these posts, rather than simply and inaccurately calling them "stump speeches." On the contrary, you will find that most of them tell very personal stories of people and families that will actually be impacted by this amendment, should it pass. Other posts raise very valid points regarding the ability of the majority to limit rights of a minority, the respective roles of church and state under our Constitution, and more. Open you heart and your mind, and you will find that these are your neighbors, not your enemies.

If this amendment should pass I wonder about the international treaty implications. Say a married same sex couple from Europe is here on Minnesota soil.
Then some mishap befalls one of them and they are hospitalized. With this law in place will the spouse be allowed decision making powers? Will treaty law trump state law? Is this same sex marriage issue ultimately a Federal point of law when it involves another Sovereign nations marriage laws?
Thinking out loud.

To make this an actual "debate" I will add a contrary opinion. Marriage was instituted to protect children, and pregnant and nursing mothers. It was never intended to protect the convenience of adults. Human children are different than animals. They need the male to stick around and be part of their upbringing. Because of children, marriage became necessary across the world, regardless of religion, lack of religion or culture.
This vote by the people of Minnesota will have no affect on gays who want to love and commit themselves to their partners. They still can, and probably always will.
But Minnesotans can't be forced to call a gay relationship a marriage, because it isn't.

An old Ole and Lena joke comes to mind on this subject. Ole in search of a wedding night hotel room is asked by the desk clerk if he'd like the bridal. Ole ponders this momentarily and responds "Nah, it's okay, I'll just hold her by the ears 'til she gets used to it."

We're just gonna' have to win this fight, and wait for the conservatives to "get used to it".

Go LIBERALS!

Marriage was a sacrament within the Roman Catholic Church long before it was regulated by civil law in this country. Maybe age for the sacrament of baptism should be regulated by the State as well! What's the difference?

Like baptism, marriage vows should be left to the church and/or individuals involved, leaving the State to regulate civil unions. Anything else crosses the line of separation between church and state.

To echo the words of former candidate for Texas Governor, Richard "Kinky" Friedman: I support gay marriage. I believe gay people have the right to be as happy (or miserable) as the rest of us.

This amendment is a cruel step backward from respect, humanity and equality for ALL. It doesn't help ANYONE. It only HURTS.

~Zack Farley

I would speculate that the GOP cares little if the amendment passes or fails on the ballot. These people realize the Supreme Court will ultimately come down on the side of civil rights. They may have their day for a while but eventually it goes away.
The real trick here is to get their base to the polls to vote on the fiscal amendments. The marriage amendment is just the flash paper of a magician. While watching the flash the other hand is up to no good. Nothing wrong with fighting them on the marriage amendment, but keep your eye(s) on the other hand, that is where the real trickery is occurring.
The votes they truly want are for their fiscal shenanigan ballots.

I feel very strongly that marriage is a social institution that should be reserved for a man and a woman.

Please don't label all of us as bigoted conservatives if we don't agree with same sex marriage. I believe that more than anything the semantics of marriage confuse the debate. I am not against the civil rights or legal protections of any individual, rather it is the "tradition" (you don't have to remind me of how marriage has changed over the centuries) of that one man and one woman in which I feel marriage should be defined.

Although I have no supporting data, I find it hard to believe that the entire GOP caucus is bigoted and homophobic. Their monolithic vote on this issue leads me to suspect, like others have mentioned, that the GOP is using this as a diversionary tactic to take attention away from the budget battle that they appear to be losing. The fact that this will drive voter turnout toward their side in 2012 is an added benefit.

I hope that the Minnesota electorate is as repulsed by this cynical tactic as I am and votes accordingly.

A recent Star Tribune Counterpoint by Jeff Davis of the Minnesota Majority got me thinking. He stated, “It is in the state’s interest to channel the unique sexual energy of men and women into marriage so that any children produced by those sexual relationships have the best opportunity to be raised by a married mother and father.” He also explained some basic biology. Only a man and a woman can produce a child. By that logic, homosexuals’ “unique sexual energy” is not going to affect the state at all!
But seriously, there is a valid question here. What is the state’s interest in marriage? I can see insisting that marriage is a consensual arrangement, e.g. minimum age laws or no forced marriages. I can understand protecting the health of future children with laws against relatives marrying. If the state really wanted to join Mr. Davis and insure that children are raised by a married mother and father, the state could outlaw sex out of wedlock and ban divorce. The behavior of our politicians guarantees that will not happen.
However, marriage laws also impact tax code, inheritance laws, child support, insurance coverage, immigration, veteran’s benefits, leasing contracts, pensions, social security, death benefits, next-of-kin status for healthcare visits and decision making, etc. It has been estimated there are over 1,000 legal benefits and obligations in a marriage.
So, some politicians are willing to consider civil unions in lieu of same-sex marriages to get around those issues. However, Mr. Davis worries about problems “ranging from religious liberty to individual expressions of faith.” There is the key – religion - but whose religion? We have no state authorized religion. Some religions presently require that a couple be of the same faith to be married and others prohibit divorce. The state does not support those religious beliefs by law. Other religions are willing to recognize same sex relationships. Whose religious beliefs does the state support?
The real debate is what interests belong to the state and what interests belong to the church? Perhaps the state should grant “civil unions” and leave the term “marriage” up to each religion to protect?
Another very legitimate debate is over how we value the state constitution. Should amendments be proposed every time the legislature and governor cannot agree, or compromise, on proposed legislation? It sounds so democratic to “let the people decide,” but isn’t that why we have elected representatives? Having lived in a state with the chaos of initiative and referendums, letting the people decide was a way for the government to pass the buck. Rather than work on tough issues, weigh various arguments, think through the consequences, and compromise, too many things got passed on to the voters with unforeseen results. With the Legacy Amendment, I hated being stuck with a yes or no question. There was no way to vote maybe, change a percentage, delete a sentence, or add an exception.
I have little faith that our politicians will have the courage to debate the big picture issues, so I pray that on this one issue of marriage they separate from their personal religious beliefs and honestly ask themselves, “What is the state’s interest?”

I am an ELCA pastor; take that as disclosure in weighing my comments.

I do not speak for Christians in general. It's possible I don't speak for Lutherans in general, but I do speak for theologically trained Lutherans.

In Lutheran theology marriage is a civic institution, governed by the state. The state determines who can, and who cannot, get married.

Thus, in Lutheran theology, the question of same gender marriage is a civic discussion: how shall the state treat same sex couples?

As a civic question, it is a question of civil rights. Is it right to deny the benefits awarded by the state to a minority?

In Lutheran theology, marriage is a religious question only within the context of who is to be blessed by the church.

Different church bodies have different answers to that question, and religious arguments for and against same sex marriage belong in the churches, not in the civic arena.

Should Muslim or atheist marriages be recognized by the state? Of course, it is a civil right. Should bi-racial marriages be recognized by the state? Again, of course.

Christian churches retain the right to not bless the marriages of those who do not follow their faith, or simply do not believe.

Should same sex marriage be recognized by the state? Of course, it is a civil right that same sex couples be treated as any other citizen.

Those Christian churches who do not believe in same sex marriages will retain the right to not bless same gender couples.

The state has no compelling interest to withhold this benefit from same sex couples; the argument that children deserve both a mother and a father is disingenuous and does not address the basic civic question.

So this is how the party of small government governs? By interfering in the lives and livelihoods of Minnesota families? It seems they want big government in our bedrooms, doctor's offices and schools, but small government for themselves and their supporters.

This is a distasteful political gimmick on the part of the GOP. It plays on the fears and prejudices of their base and gets them out voting, which is really what this is about. I don't think they even know or care what it does to Minnesota families. It's all about dividing us along cultural lines while they go about dismantling of our state and our communities.

I find the "save the children" argument particularly offensive. If my husband and I were childless, should our right to remain married have been put to a vote? My gay friends and neighbors have fostered and adopted more children than anyone I know. They have devoted their lives and much of their incomes to overcoming legal, cultural, and biological obstacles in order to become parents. I am humbled by the commitment they've made to forming beautiful, vibrant, loving partnerships (marriages) and families. They are more than worthy of the benefits and protections provided by marriage. It's a moral outrage that they even have to ask.

But hey, if we're going down the path of putting basic rights to a vote, I'd like a crack at deciding what rights our newly created "corporate persons" should and shouldn't have. Maybe the people who bailed them out, gay and straight, should have a say on what mergers they are allowed to form.

If the Republicans are really so concerned that all children should be raised by a mother and a father, why haven't they outlawed divorce if the parties have children? Perhaps because that would infringe on the rights of too many of their party members?
Putting the civil rights of citizens up for a vote, and then appealing to bigotry to make sure they are denied those rights, is the lowest form of political cynicism.

...
...
...
EQUALITY UNDER LAW
...
...

How backwards is this. Gay marriage proponents claim a "basic right" where there is none. They they claim we don't have the "right" to vote on something that is defined in the constitution as a right. Democrats cry against democracy because they're afraid of the will of the people. Amazing.

Mr. Jordan, you are in a dire need of a civics lesson. We live in a republic, not a democracy.

I am totally in favor of amending the state constitution to ban all forms of marriage or civil unions, whether heterosexual and homosexual. It's discrimination against the single and the unweddable you know.

Mark (#69), thank you for expressing you position with such clarity. I wish that proponents of the amendment would recognize that imposing a particular religion's definition of marriage on civil society not only harms the civil rights of many, but undermines the freedom of religions, including Christian denominations, to define marriage within the church according to their own beliefs. That is why, rather than supporting religion, this amendment has the effect of reducing, rather than enhancing, religious freedom. Those who wish to practice their religion without state interference should look long and hard at this amendment before they vote "yes".

We have a long, tragic history in the United States of denying rights to a succession of minorities. Honestly, in 2011, with awareness of how misguided we were in decades and centuries past, how can it seem ok to isolate a particular group for different treatment? Regardless of what you think about the meaning of marriage, isn't it clear that we have gone wrong when we start having to identify a certain group of Americans so that we can single them out and treat them differently?

Our founding fathers (sexist, slave-owning bastards that they were) saw the wisdom in protecting ourselves from the tyranny of the majority. And today, it remains just as wise to state that this is not an issue of electoral politics, nor is it a question of popular vote. This is a question of civil rights and common decency.

Marriage -- even same sex marriage -- might not be for me. But I have no right to deny it to others. Nor does the State of Minnesota, regardless of whether a majority of voters approves it in a popular vote. I don't want to live in a state where the majority of voters, just because they're the majority, get to single people out for official, state-sanctioned discrimination. It is not about what the majority prefers. It's about "liberty, and justice for all."

Karl (#66) says "[p]lease don't label all of us as bigoted conservatives if we don't agree with same sex marriage."

Sorry, Karl, but if you think that the law should discriminate against certain people because of their sexual orientation, that makes you a bigot. The fact that you believe "tradition" justifies your position doesn't change that fact. If you can read through all these heartfelt comments and still think that discrimination against gay and lesbian couples is acceptable, that's your right, but you can't have it both ways and claim that you aren't a bigot. Own up to it, Karl.

For my 6 1/2 year old son this has been a new experience. He is a kid who has always had 2 moms and he has never encountered homophobia in any big way before. He does not know there are organizations and people who devote their time to trying to be unfair to our families. So, when trying to explain to him what was going on at the capital and give him the information he needed, I was struck by his absolute disbelief that people would behave this way. He does not meet meanness in elected officials with a shrug and a feeling that this behavior is inevitable the way so many adults do. He saw the amendment for the bullying it is - no different than if some other random group was being picked on.
My wife and encouraged him to do something productive with his dismay by writing a letter to Senator Limmer, who was introducing the amendment at the time we were telling him about it. This is what he wrote:

"I am Ian. I am 6. I have 2 moms. I care about other people who have 2 moms or 2 dads, not just about myself. I care about other people! And the communities!

It’s not fair to other people. If I voted on it, I would say no. What I’m saying is people who have 2 moms or dads will be mad and also sad.

The Constitution says that everyone is equal. You are not being equal. You should know it’s unfair. You are not being nice to us or to other families with two dads or two moms. It would not be fair.

We depend on other people. If we aren’t being a community it’s not going to be a country. It’s going to be a de-country. Being a community means help other people. If you aren’t being nice to people, they would be mad.

My family depends on each other because we help each other. And we could not be fair if we were not a community that would help people. Like, someday things will be nicer and there won’t be war. Jews hope that someday there won’t be wars.

Help people who are homeless, who don’t have money, who don’t have shelter, who don’t have food. Who are standing on the street, looking for people to help them.

Ian"

While I am so proud of his reaction, I am also so sad that he had to be exposed to bigotry at such a young age.

I Personally am not Gay or Lesbian however I feel that 2 "People" who are involved and are committed to each other should be afforded the ability to make their union legal and be afforded all the protection and benefits that any other married couple enjoy. How can our government justify the millions of $$ that they have spent on behalf of the religious zealots and close minded individuals. To allow same sex marriage will improve the general health and wealth of these couples. This will also have a desired affect on the economy, people with more money saved in tax's and medical cost will now be able to add income back into their communities and generate revenue , jobs ..... stop spending the money that could be put to use elsewhere, elderly medication supplementation, education, housing and the general fund. lets concentrate on what truly is important.