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Envisioning the morning after the marriage-amendment vote

REUTERS/Adrees Latif
If this amendment passes — after all the work, the money, the hard questions asked and answered, the risks taken, the eyes opened, the stories shared — it will be a moment of profound and visceral sadness for many in our state.

My partner and I have been together nearly eight years. We’ve never had a ceremony, but that didn’t stop us from getting a dog, buying a house together, welcoming our first child 18 months ago. We’re each other’s biggest fans and we’re in this for the long-haul, for better or worse. A piece of paper, or the hundreds of state and federal rights associated with it, won’t change that. All the same, this proposed marriage amendment matters to us. A lot. For a thousand reasons — personal, financial, and philosophical — we’ll be voting “No” in November.

Erin Keyes

I was asked recently, “How will you feel if the amendment passes?” It seemed like a silly question at the time. But the truth is, I hadn’t really let myself think about it yet. In that moment, with the question hanging in the air, I felt it: an almost literal punch to the gut. Airless lungs, stinging eyes, a rock rising in my throat. For a moment.

I composed myself, said something more-or-less deflective about “moving on” and “keeping up the fight” and “viewing the long arc of history.” But to be perfectly honest, that’s not the full truth.

If this amendment passes — after all the work, the money, the hard questions asked and answered, the risks taken, the eyes opened, the stories shared — it will be a moment of profound and visceral sadness for me, my partner, and for many in our state. It will mean that the essential commitments, needs, and realities of our family — the same as any two-parent family — are not recognized by over half of our fellow voting citizens.

As I write this, on a Friday night after a long week, I can hear our daughter on the baby monitor, talking herself to sleep in her crib. She hoots to imagined owls, calls to invisible kitty cats, and babbles about the discoveries of her day. She is “Hah-ppy Ivy,” 18 months old, and all she knows in her world is love: from two adoring parents; from four doting grandparents who weren’t sure they’d ever have a grandbaby to spoil; from weekday caregivers who are more like a second family; from the real and honorary “aunts and uncles” who are all collectively invested in her future; from the neighbors up and down our street who have quietly but firmly built a protective orange “Vote No” boundary around us.

Because of this, I have hope for her, and for us in the long haul. But part of me wishes I could inhabit that preconscious 20-month noggin on Nov. 7 No matter which way the vote goes, she’ll still get fed, and loved, and read to, and let loose in a sea of books and blocks. She won’t have to wonder if the supermarket cart-pushers or the distant relatives or the radio announcers or the teachers or the work colleagues filled in the “yes” bubble on their ballots.

But we — her parents — do. This ballot measure is profoundly personal to us. Beyond the rights, privileges, and responsibilities we still won’t have under law no matter which side prevails, it says so much about the state we love and live in. I know many of my fellow citizens struggle genuinely with this issue, whether through lack of exposure to real GLBT people, or a narrow reading of scripture, or forgetting that life in a religious plurality means that we are all sometimes bound by civil laws that do not privilege our particular faith. But faced with the prospect of a change to our state’s founding document that was designed to protect, not to limit citizens’ freedoms, I can’t help but feel a profound disappointment. Without constant vigilance, that disappointment could all too easily lapse into the disdain, stereotypes and inhumanity that too many GLBT people face in their daily lives. That’s not what I expect from myself, or from the state I am proud to call home.

This past Easter, we were lucky enough to join other Minnesota families in Washington, D.C., to participate in the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll. That in itself was an amazing experience, but I hope our first family will forgive us if the highlight of the weekend was elsewhere. At the MLK Memorial, we took a moment to read some of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most important words. The quote that sticks with me most comes from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

If this amendment passes — if my fellow citizens decide that one singular interpretation of religious principles or (dis)comfort level trump the basic civil rights and freedoms of thousands of Minnesotans — the loss will be the rending of that garment of mutuality.

If ever there was a time for recognizing one another’s humanity, and the shared principles that bind us to one another in community, it is now. You may not love like me, but chances are the way we live isn’t so different. No matter what, I will raise my children to respect yours, and hope that by the time they are in charge, the fabric of mutuality will be mended.

Erin Keyes lives in St. Louis Park with her partner and daughter.

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Comments (66)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/01/2012 - 07:40 am.

    Epitaph

    Who among the general public remembers a budget or a mean-spirited exchange on the floor of the legislature?

    Putting this into the Constitution, the constitution that is supposed to be bulwark for the individual against the state, guarantees that this will be the long-last epitaph of the Republican party. It will be over-turned eventually, but the petty and mean politics of the party will be remembered and will be a lesson.

    They damage themselves and the state far more than they realize with politics of division for short-term gain.

    • Submitted by Ray Marshall on 10/01/2012 - 06:25 pm.

      Such a shame

      Erin wailed: “If this amendment passes. . .it will be a moment of profound and visceral sadness for many in our state.”

      No just why would that be? The amendment does nothing to change existing Minnesota law which has always declared that marriage in Minnesota must be between one man and one woman.

      That is the awful Minnesota law where you and your partner bought a house, have a dog and had a child. How awful of Minnesota law.

      What is it that you are expecting that Minnesota law doesn’t give you? What do you think that the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment is taking away? The right to have a judge declare it to be unconstitutional?

      • Submitted by Mimosa Greer on 10/02/2012 - 09:17 am.

        Exactly.

        Yes. 100% right. It make a constitutional amendment to *deprive* a group of civil rights. You may think that you personally will never be the one who’s rights will be taken away, and hopefully you are right, but you might be wrong. What if you are? What if this is the start of a slippery slope that takes *your* rights away in say 10 years? How will you feel knowing you could have (maybe) (helped) prevent it? Just a thought.

      • Submitted by David Norris on 10/11/2012 - 01:24 pm.

        Speaking of indifference… it’s amazing what a mob mentality does to people.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/01/2012 - 08:12 am.

    “[The] realities of our family — the same as any two-parent family — are not recognized by over half of our fellow voting citizens.”

    There it is. SS households are simply *not* the same as any two-parent family, and with respect to Erin and her partner, all empassioned protestations notwithstanding, unless human beings undergo a profound biological metamorphosis they never can, or will be.

    Erin’s decision to bring a child into a same sex relationship, by whatever means she accomplished it, flies in the face of emerging research, human biology and just good common sense. That’s not to say that she and her partner don’t love Ivy, I’m sure they do, but the fact is that they have put their own interests ahead of what emerging research is unsurprisingly finding is not in the best interests of children.

    Many, if not most people that will pass this amendment, myself included, really don’t care how people choose to live their lives. We intend to protect the definition of marriage for the same reason government imbued it with special rights and responsibilities in the first place…for the children.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/01/2012 - 10:19 am.

      Please

      What “emerging research,” please? And are you suggesting that YOUR common sense trumps mine or Erin’s or most of the other posters on this site, both straight and gay?

      The danger of this amendment is not just the fiscal and emotional well-being of adults, but endangering the security of little Ivy and others. Children who deserve the same legal protections as every other. No matter how many times you codify hate, until you stoop to the level of Nazi Germany and dictate who and who may not procreate, you can’t stop the birth of children into families with same-sex parents. Even if you can deny already-born children a home because of a myopic definition of “family,” there will always be children with two moms or two dads. Denying them the same legal protections as everyone else is morally bankrupt.

      This amendment is NOT “for the children.”

    • Submitted by Chris St.Germain on 10/01/2012 - 10:37 am.

      For the children?

      Children have been born and grow up to be their own person regardless of upbringing for countless generations, whether they are born of a married couple or whether they are adopted. A loving couple who works to adopt is just as capable of raising children as a drunken-hookup-turned-family divorced couple who have done nothing to earn the legal benefits of marriage (if not more so.)

      If you are going to make the assertion that a straight marriage is in the best interest of the children, then you have to accept all circumstances like the one outlined above. You also have to claim responsibility for all of the dysfunctional people out there who were given everything in a loving straight family setting and still grew up to commit egregious acts against society. You must accept the people who have 10 children and live off the government in poverty. You must accept that the children who were neglected by immature, alcoholic, abusive straight parents and grew up to become immature, alcoholic, abusive straight parents were raised in ideal circumstances.

      If straight marriage is ideal for the children, then you must accept that every straight married couple deserves the rights you often take for granted and good, decent people are fighting to get – the ones who often adopt children abandoned by the ideal straight couples.

    • Submitted by noah lentz on 10/01/2012 - 11:00 am.

      You’re mistaken

      You seem to be under the impression that this amendment will prevent gay couples from adopting or having children. It won’t, and serves only to penalize those who will and have already followed the proud American tradition of not waiting for government approval to live their lives as they want.

    • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/02/2012 - 06:51 am.

      I hear much of the same from some of my older colleagues at work. Their opinions probably won’t change, short of one their own children coming out and thus being forced to reassess things. They didn’t have an openly gay student at their high school, much less any gay friends. Homosexuals are truly alien to them.
      The opinions of those under the age of 30 are drastically different. It’s not a question of being pro-gay, it’s just that gay rights (including the right to marry someone of the same sex) are common-sense. To us, in a time when half of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce, denying homosexuals the right to marry seems like a sick joke.
      There is an inevitable progress to this thing. When the boomers are gone there won’t be enough haters left to stop gays marrying.

      • Submitted by Connie Meyer on 10/02/2012 - 08:00 pm.

        When the boomers are gone?

        To Richard Schulze – I’m a boomer and would love to see marriages between loving couples of any gender, age, race, faith. I’ve talked to my friends about this issue and all of them are voting NO (also boomers). If you’re gonna slam people based on their generation, you might want to look at what each generation brought to the table. You owe a lot of people an apology.

    • Submitted by Ashley Bonine on 10/03/2012 - 01:24 am.

      Marriage does not exist solely for children. If it did, procreation outside of marriage would be forbidden. The argument you’re making, that “traditional” marriage needs to be protected for the sake of the children, is not new. Prior to 1967, Virginia had an anti-miscegenation law. Its justification: the state wanted to preclude interracial marriage for the sake of the children that might be born of such unions. It was found unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. So be happy to know that you’re using the same argument as those that decried interracial marriage.

      There is no credible scientific evidence that being raised by same-sex parents (based on that fact and that fact alone) has any negative effects on children. I challenge you to produce any.

      Additionally, there is a constitutional right to procreation (yes, even using donor sperm). Erin has a constitutional right to have a child (as does her partner) and she also has a right (as the child’s legal parent) to raise that child as she sees fit. You cannot attempt to take that right away from her simply because you don’t think she’ll do a decent job. If my 18-year-old neighbor has a right to procreate, then Erin, as a responsible adult, certainly does as well.

      Same-sex couples don’t need to be exact replicas of opposite-sex couples to enjoy the same rights.
      Procreation is not the sole (or indeed a required) purpose of marriage. It is illogical to claim that someone should be denied the right to marry because you don’t think they’ll be good parents. I cannot forbid my neighbor from marrying her creepy boyfriend simply because I think they’re going to be bad parents. Frankly, unless they’re abusing or neglecting the child, it’s none of my business how they raise it.

      Plus, the assumption is that restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples will keep same-sex couples from having children. As this article clearly illustrates, this is not the case. Same-sex couples will continue to have children, whether marriage is legalized for them in Minnesota or not. So unless you’re advocating limiting adoption or procreation to opposite-sex couples you’re wasting your breath talking about it in this context.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/03/2012 - 08:08 am.

        The scary part here is that the logical extension of the intolerant attitude being expressed by certain posters could lead to a legal environment where children of same-sex couples could be taken away from them under the pretext of “it’s bad for the children”. In this instance, the fact that you can’t stop same sex couples from having children would become irrelevant because the law would allow those children to be taken away.

        This is something to always keep in mind whenever this particular intolerant attitude is trotted out. Because if certain individuals had their way, not only would same sex couples not be allowed to wed, but they would not be allowed to have children, and if they finagled a way to have children anyway, the law would just remove those children to keep them “from harm’s way”.

  3. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/01/2012 - 08:34 am.

    Please cite some evidence for this unsupported and

    wrong claim, Mr. Swift:

    “the fact is that they have put their own interests ahead of what emerging research is unsurprisingly finding is not in the best interests of children”

  4. Submitted by Randi Reitan on 10/01/2012 - 09:52 am.

    Thank you for the beautifully written commentary.

    As a mother of beloved gay son, I want his life and his love respected and recognized in the state where he has lived all his life. I hope the morning after the election your dear family and ours wake to a Minnesota that has defeated this mean spirited amendment.

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/01/2012 - 10:40 am.

    Children who deserve the same legal protections as every other.

    Except, as leftists would have it in little Ivy’s situation, the support and presence of their fathers.

    • Submitted by Jennifer Norlin-Weaver on 10/01/2012 - 11:30 am.

      One isn’t the same as the other

      Sorry – not sure how you define a fatherly ‘presence’ or ‘support’ but it sure sounds like little Ivy has a good deal more of both than I experienced and my parents were of the ‘traditional’ marriage ilk you so revere. I so fail to see how allowing Ivy’s family the same legal benefits your and mine have could possibly bring out the level of doom and gloom you folks predict. And don’t call me a leftist.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/01/2012 - 11:39 am.

      Ah yes, Mr. Swift

      It’s all the leftists fault that little Ivy will not have the support and presence of a father.

      You do realize that a lot of average people, not just “lefties,” are against this hateful amendment. People like Marilyn Carlson Nelson?

      And of course Barry Goldwater was famously against the prohibition of gays in the military.

      He said:

      “It’s time America realized that there was no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence” — Barry Goldwater

      link: http://bit.ly/zB6B2A

      And of course locally, your friend John Kriesel is against this homophobic amendment.

      Please own up to the fact that it is not just leftists who oppose it. Get a new chant please.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/01/2012 - 04:43 pm.

      Who said that Ivy’s being denied legal support and presence of her father? Is it possible that Ivy’s father is a sperm donor? In which case, it makes no difference as to whether Ivy has two mothers or a mother and father; that ship has sailed. In vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments have been available for years as long as you can afford them.

      It’s also possible that Ivy has a biological father that remains in her life. To assume that she’s being denied the support and presence of her father is a big assumption, and certainly one that bears no legal significance.

      In any case, if Ivy’s being punished legally for not having a legal father it’s because of laws being made to do so, not by the absence of them. To put it plainly–it’s people who support the anti-marriage amendment that are denying her legal protection. Own it.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/01/2012 - 11:59 am.

    You’re right, David

    Codifying human biology and common sense will not prevent people, homosexual or heterosexual, from doing things that are harmful to children. But that is no reason to normalize, or worse, encourage environments that are inherently so.

    Personally, if I had my way, SS partners and single people would not be allowed to adopt kids at all. But being a realist, discouraging these folks from bringing kids into their relationships is the least we can do.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/01/2012 - 12:42 pm.

      Would you prefer

      to sterilize LGBT men and women as well?

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/01/2012 - 01:12 pm.

        Maybe James

        …you missed it, but I said “adopt”. There is no way to stop Americans from procreating.

        • Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/01/2012 - 04:31 pm.

          I didn’t miss it,

          I just took your position to it’s logical conclusion, Mr. Swift. You’ll note that I asked for your preference, not what might be possible. So, what would be your preference?

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/02/2012 - 07:21 am.

            I beg to differ, James

            You inserted a meaning which didn’t exist. I clearly stated my preference, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not is your call.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/01/2012 - 12:56 pm.

      Fortunately, Mr. Swift,

      you have no say in gay couples becoming parents. It is being done, and done well all the time, as this piece illustrates.

      I am still waiting for a link to a reference that supports your claim that having gay parents is harmful to children.

    • Submitted by Susan McNerney on 10/01/2012 - 02:52 pm.

      Children in SS parent households do just fine

      In fact a study by the Williams Institute (go ahead, google it) couldn’t even find any that had experienced any sort of abuse at all (in lesbian parent households).

      This makes logical sense, since gay parents typically choose to have children, whereas a huge percentage of heterosexual parents have children accidentally. gay parents are therefore more likely to be prepared for parenthood, and the census seems to consistently show they have higher incomes as they have kids later in life.

      As for your disparagement of single people, I find that utterly strange. I am a single straight person, and though I have no interest in adoption, I could easily provide a loving home. You are basically saying that my very presence is harmful to children because I haven’t permanently attached myself to some guy I met at the meat raffle. How odd.

      I hope readers of MinnPost pay attention to this man’s comment about singles. Because it’s indicative of where a lot of this anti-gay rhetoric is going – toward restricting EVERYONE’s lives, not “just” gays and lesbians. This is the cultural agenda of the far right: your bedroom is not your own, and unless you are June and Ward Cleaver, you’re a second-class citizen.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/01/2012 - 03:42 pm.

        “permanently attached to some guy I met at the meat raffle.”

        I wonder if the increase in divorce rates isn’t somehow attributable to people that see marriage that way, Susan.

        There are many people who are not suitable to be parents, for a variety of reasons. That fact doesn’t make them “second class citizens” anywhere but leftist coffee klatches. In fact, for thoughtful people a self acknowledgement of a deficiency in the parental skill area would constitute a virtue.

        I’m sure you could provide a loving home, Susan; I’m sure Erin does so as well. But there is truth in the saying that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions…honestly, I don’t think there are many people out there that have children by whatever means that do so with the intent of harming them.

        I’m just stating the obvious fact that the rearing of children should be encouraged to those best prepared for the job….nothing more, nothing less.

    • Submitted by Amy Bergquist on 10/01/2012 - 04:31 pm.

      Superminority

      I’m comforted that Mr. Swift’s view that “SS partners . . . [sh]ould not be allowed to adopt kids at all” and that the State of Minnesota should “discourag[e] these folks from bringing kids into their relationships” is in the superminority. The latest polls show that 68% of Minnesotans support giving gay and lesbian couples the same legal rights as couples whose marriages the State of Minnesota recognizes.

      But consider the implications of what Mr. Swift is saying: “SS partners . . . [sh]ould not be allowed to adopt kids at all.” This means that where one SS partner is the biological (and legal) parent, Mr. Swift prefers a world in which the other SS partner cannot have any legally recognized relationship to the child, so as to “discourage” the SS couple from “bringing kids into their relationships” in the first place. This arrangement, Mr. Swift suggests, would be less “harmful to children” than allowing both SS partners to make medical decisions for the child, to sign permission slips for school, to travel to other states with the child, and to do all of the other things an adoptive parent has the legal authority to do.

      He also prefers a world in which SS couples are barred from adopting one of the 120,000 adoption-eligible children currently living in the foster care system, including many “hard-to-place” children. Instead, according to Mr. Swift’s reasoning, those children should remain in the foster system and without a stable, permanent home.

      Mr. Swift also assumes that the children of gay and lesbian couples have no ongoing relationship with their biological parent(s). In many cases, that is simply not true. Approximately 1/3 of all adoptions by gay and lesbian couples are “open adoptions” in which the child has and maintains a relationship with her or his biological parent(s).

      Finally, Mr. Swift incorrectly presumes that all lesbian women who become pregnant do so voluntarily. In some parts of the world less tolerant than ours, lesbians (and women perceived to be lesbians) are singled out for “corrective rape.” To suggest that the children conceived from such rapes should be raised by both biological parents sheds light on who really supports environments that are “inherently harmful” to children.

      Is it any wonder Mr. Swift’s purportedly child-centric world view is in the superminority?

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/02/2012 - 10:33 am.

        Excellent points

        Amy makes some very excellent points. I, too, am glad that the attitude conveyed by Mr. Swift is only a small portion of the population. These points make it absolutely clear that the claim that this amendment is “for the children” is only a popular myth offered by those that support it.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/02/2012 - 12:51 pm.

          Something to explain.

          Rachel, you like to present yourself as a logic loving individual, please explain the logic in this.

          If, as you say, my opinion is only shared by a small portion ot the population, why has codifying human biology and common sense into states’ constitutional amendments passed overwhelmingly everywhere the question has been put before voters? It even passed in California fer cryin’ out loud.

          • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/02/2012 - 03:29 pm.

            We’re in Minnesota

            not California. And times change. As for “codifying human biology and common sense,” that’s an opinion you’ve expressed many times. Human biology need not be codified. And common sense requires common sense, not the OPINION that it is common sense.

            My common sense speaks in direct opposition to yours. The logic is this: you profess to love freedom. I love freedom. You profess to believe in Constitutionality. I believe in Constitutionality. Same sex marriage presents no harm to others, as evidenced by recent research (which I will cite here, though some are behind paywalls: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4560.1996.tb01578.x/abstract, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1992.tb01679.x/abstract, http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1996-03639-003, http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/LGBT-Families-Lit-Review.pdf). With rare exception, the research that shows that kids in same-sexed parent families could be doing better indicate that the reasons for these are not because their parents are same-sexed, but because of social stigma from outside the family or from events that happen to any other family (e.g., death, divorce, loss of job, etc.)

            Therefore, because the vast majority of research has shown NO harm to children in same-sexed parent families, and the vast majority of those that do are the result of laws that resemble this amendment, voting yes is contrary to common sense and freedom. And because there is no biological reason or common sense behind voting yes for the amendment, we are left with only the religious arguments. Because it is anti-Constitutional to codify religious practices and beliefs, it is also anti-Constitutional to pass this amendment.

            • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/02/2012 - 05:10 pm.

              Thank you Rachel.

              Item first: I agree that it’s sad that we have to codify human biology, but that in fact is exacty what were doing.

              Item next; your research:

              First link: “We summarize recent research findings suggesting that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as are heterosexual parents to provide home environments that support positive outcomes among children.”

              In other words, it’s a handbook for gay rights activists.

              Second link: “Having begun to respond to heterosexist and homophobic questions posed by psychological theory, judicial opinion, and popular prejudice, child development researchers are now in a position also to explore a broader range of issues…”

              ~Nuff said.

              I have to run, but I’ll address the rest later; I promise.

              • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/03/2012 - 12:31 pm.

                Dismissive

                The “We summarize recent RESEARCH” is the important part. Dismissing it as a handbook for any activist is unsupportable. Choosing a single quotation out of context can’t be used to dismiss the second link, either. You can’t address “the rest” because you haven’t addressed any of it. I challenge you to provide an equivalent amount of peer reviewed research supporting your opinion.

                • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/03/2012 - 04:12 pm.

                  And this was supposed to be a pro-gay study!

                  http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/6908.html

                  “In the paper, “How Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?” professors Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz argue that children with lesbian and gay parents are more likely to depart from traditional gender roles.”

                  Learning dysfunctional behaviors, Rachel, is harmful.

                  Also, to the discredit of your peer reviewed research:

                  “The researchers’ findings, published in the April edition of the American Sociological Review, were culled from an analysis of 21 studies dating back to 1980.”

                  Please pay attention tho this next part, it is crucial to your understanding,,,

                  “Those past studies – which included only birth children, not adopted children – downplayed contrasts between children raised by homosexuals and heterosexuals.”

                  In other words, the research you depend upon to back up your argument was “sanitized”. Is that something reputable scientists do, Rachel or is it the mark of an activist in a lab coat?

                  • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/04/2012 - 12:09 pm.

                    Dysfunctional behaviors?

                    I didn’t see any reference to “dysfunctional behaviors”. I saw a mention of departing from “traditional gender roles”. And frankly – considering how “traditional gender roles” have tended to place women at a disadvantage over the years (and oftentimes men under unnecessary levels of pressure and stress) – an ability to find another framework to live and interact within strikes me as a very healthy change indeed.

                  • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/05/2012 - 11:01 am.

                    Context is everything, Mr. Swift

                    You deliberately and maliciously misrepresented the study and results you linked to. There is no indication that children from families with homosexual parents learn “dysfunctional behaviors.” In fact, the article states:
                    “Stacey and Biblarz found some evidence that children in gay households are more likely to buck stereotypical male-female behavior. For example, boys raised by lesbians appear to be less aggressive and more nurturing than boys raised in heterosexual families. Daughters of lesbians are more likely to aspire to become doctors, lawyers, engineers and astronauts.”

                    Further, if you must insist on maligning homosexual orientation as a “dysfunction,” it’s important to read the following about children with gay parents from your article:
                    “…statistically, they were no more likely to identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual.”

                    Finally, presuming that the families were cherry picked for a “pro-gay” impact by choosing only birth children is utter foolishness as biological children are much more likely to have similar traits to their parents. So such children would presumably be more likely to be homosexuals. But they’re not.

                    In other words, it appears that you must manipulate positive research results because you can’t find any negative research results. I’ll even give you a pass on not actually presenting a peer-reviewed research article since it’s a summary of one. But it would seem that you think me incapable of reading and comprehending a simple summary of a more complicated research article. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I am quite capable of not only reading, but comprehending, much more complex reading material.

                    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/05/2012 - 12:46 pm.

                      “, they were no more likely to identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual.”

                      But they are much more apt to “experiment” with homosexual sex. Keeping it on the down low doesn’t lessen the danger.

                    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/05/2012 - 04:59 pm.

                      Not exactly

                      Girls were more likely to experiment, while boys were less likely (and more likely to wait later for first sexual experience, as well). So what? What danger?

                      There’s pretty good evidence that homosexuality is a byproduct of some heterosexuals being better at producing children than others. Women who have a homosexual relative (and therefore related genetics) have significantly more children than the general public. And it’s not simply to make up for some perceived “wrong” on their relatives’ part. Rather, they simply seem better at having children. Similarly, men that show increased feminine features without actually being homosexual are much more attractive as long-term mates for the ladies, increasing their fitness for successfully raising children. In other words, a percentage of the population will be gay simply because others are not. I would presume that cultures and religions that tend to encourage large families probably contribute the most to the population of homosexual individuals. Not terribly dangerous.

                      By “keeping it on the down low,” I presume that you are implying that these kids are actually living a “gay lifestyle” without admitting it. Nonsense. Being gay isn’t a choice, or it wouldn’t exist. The only danger is in the belief that gay people shouldn’t exist.

          • Submitted by Amy Bergquist on 10/02/2012 - 03:54 pm.

            Teasing out the nuances in public opinion

            Mr. Swift, Ms. Kahler (Rachel) was replying in support of my comment, which specifically focused on your “superminority” views about same-sex couples adopting children. The state constitutional amendments to which you refer do not address that matter.

            As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit noted earlier this year, before Proposition 8 passed, “under California statutory law, same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples, regardless of their marital status.” And the only effect Proposition 8 had, all parties to that litigation agree, was to strip same-sex couples of “the right to obtain and use the designation of ‘marriage’ to describe their relationships. Nothing more, nothing less.” In other words, Californians and Minnesotans alike support giving gay and lesbian couples the same legal rights as couples whose marriages the state recognizes.

            I understand that it is logically more challenging to understand that a person could: (a) support allowing same-sex couples to adopt and have all of the other rights identical to those of married couples; and simultaneously (b) oppose the right of same-sex couples to marry.

            As I noted in my original comment (to which you did not respond), in Minnesota the overwhelming majority (68%) endorses (a). The polls in Minnesota and elsewhere suggest that a relevant subset holds views (a) and (b). I endorse (a) and not (b), and you, Mr. Swift, adhere to (b) and not (a). I hope this explanation helps clarify your confusion about these two related issues.

            • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/02/2012 - 05:04 pm.

              I appreciate your response Amy

              However, I’d me remiss if I failed to point out that judicial mandates do not equate to public approval. In fact, that is why we’re having this discussion in the first place.

              Also, I’m aware that most people approve of giving SS couplings the same legal protections as married, for the most part I don’t have any problems with that either. But I’m unaware that the subject of adoption was included in those polls.

              I aver I don’t have any hard data to back it up, but I’d bet posing that question would get a very different response from the majority.

              • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/03/2012 - 12:35 pm.

                Judicial mandate

                By definition is not public approval. It doesn’t make it any less valid. In fact, the judicial system is specifically set up in an attempt to be removed from public opinion. Because sometimes, public opinion is wrong.

  7. Submitted by Beth St. John on 10/01/2012 - 12:28 pm.

    I’m with you, Erin

    All I want to say is that I support you, Erin, and will be voting “NO” on election day. My neighbor’s “Vote Yes” sign disturbed me profoundly when I saw it the other day. I was sad, not angry which is my usual response to things of this nature (political differences, etc.). This amendment means so much with regard to equality and human rights. I hold these views as a heterosexual, divorced mother or four children. A lot of times, I’m thinking “Wow, a wife would be helpful.”
    I wish you a life of happiness and love as a woman, writer, partner and parent. Hopefully someday you can add “spouse” to that list.

  8. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/02/2012 - 06:37 am.

    It’s been nothing but mayhem in Canada ever since they legalized it. The economy just keeps on growing, people keep having children, and worst of all, the sun continues to rise and set predictably.

  9. Submitted by Emily Sojourn on 10/02/2012 - 09:08 am.

    It would be nice….

    …. If MinnPost would limit the number of times an individual could comment/reply on an article. (Please note, I say “limit” not eradicate.) I am frankly growing tired of Thomas Swift’s never-ending hatred of (and what seems to be obsession with) homosexuality. Read any article about same sex anything and there he is, spewing his bias and hurtful comments.

    We know your opinions, Mr. Swift. We know that you make claims which you either do not attempt to back up or back up from websites dedicated to your own opinion. You seem to think that if your thoughts dominate every commentary following a story that people will give way to your way of thinking.

    I know that I have the choice of simply not scrolling down to read the comments, but I do like to hear other, well-reasoned arguments by people not guided by visceral emotion. It’s too bad that one (seemingly needy) person ruins it by turning the comment section into a personal soapbox.
    The American people do not know how to debate anymore because it is no longer taught in school. Consequently, we’re left with the Bludgeoning School of Argument whereby having the last word is more important than effective persuasion.

    Newspapers exercised editorial control over commentary since their inception. Citizens had one opportunity to make their point in a single letter to the editor and limited ability to respond to rebuttal. Mr. Swift has had ample opportunity to make his thoughts known; now maybe it’s time to hear from someone else — perhaps someone better equipped to argue the “vote yes” viewpoint with intelligence.

    There seems to be a fine line between freedom-of-speech and enabling someone’s psychological needs, MinnPost. I might be reading less from you in the future.

  10. Submitted by Lowell Anderson on 10/02/2012 - 04:26 pm.

    Civil right?

    Since when is the ability to redefine a word a civil right?

    • Submitted by Ashley Bonine on 10/03/2012 - 01:35 am.

      Oh boy.

      Was it a civil rights issue when marriage was redefined to include interracial couples? Was it a civil rights issue when marriage was redefined to give women equal rights/abilities with their husbands (rather than treating them as property)? Yes. Yes, it was.

      • Submitted by Lowell Anderson on 10/03/2012 - 08:47 am.

        No. No, it wasn’t.

        There was absolutely no redefinition of the word in either of these cases. In both cases, as is now and always has been, marriage was defined as a union of a man and a woman. How was that redefined in either of the cases you mention? By the way, if redefining a word is a civil right, then I want “work” to be redefined to include sleeping on the couch!

        • Submitted by Ashley Bonine on 10/03/2012 - 10:47 am.

          Yes. Yes, it was.

          The element of race was redefined. Instead of “a man and a woman of the same race,” it became “a man and a woman of any race.” Now, the element of gender is being redefined. Instead of “a man and a woman,” it is becoming “two people of any gender.” Do we see the parallels here?

        • Submitted by Colin Dunn on 10/03/2012 - 07:36 pm.

          Also..

          Marriage, in the bible, and in many cultures traditionally, was also defined as a union of a man and several women. We have, happily, redefined that understanding of marriage with no ill effects. Civilization has not crumbled. It’s time to move forward.

          • Submitted by Lowell Anderson on 10/04/2012 - 09:52 am.

            Marriage in the Bible

            I realize you probably couldn’t care less what the Bible says, but if you are going to use it in your argument it might be a good idea to actually know what it says. Nowhere in the Bible is marriage defined as the union of one man and several women. In Genesis it is clearly one man and one women. During part of the Old Testament, and in some other cultures, it was common for some wealthy men or kings to have more than one wife. However, the Bible is clear that it caused nothing but problems and most men in the Bible still only had one wife. Later, in the New Testament, it is very clear that marriage is one man, one women.

            • Submitted by Ashley Bonine on 10/04/2012 - 01:11 pm.

              Polygamy in the Bible.

              Whether or not the Bible specifically defines marriage as one man and one woman, the Old Testament does discuss many prominent men who were polygamists, including Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc. God does not condemn the practice of polygamy (though in the New Testament monogamy is seen to be preferred).

              Genesis 4:19: “And Lamech took two wives. The name of one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.”

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/03/2012 - 09:14 am.

    Since when is redifining a word a civil offense?

    About this tradition thing… when did people get the idea that it’s the governments role to define words and guarantee traditions? Not exactly a “limited government” view now is it? Up until now words were defined in dictionaries (i.e. the private sector) and traditions belonged to the people who practiced them. Talk about an expansion of government.

    • Submitted by Lowell Anderson on 10/03/2012 - 12:52 pm.

      So then….

      So then you won’t have a problem if we start a movement to redifine the word “employment” to include people who don’t have jobs? How about “north” to include south and east as well? How about “homeowner” to include people who are just renting? What happens when the words no longer have any specific meaning?

      • Submitted by Ashley Bonine on 10/03/2012 - 01:56 pm.

        Really?

        The definition of words change all the time. That is how language evolves and develops. New words emerge and old words change. Plus, language only has meaning because we give it meaning. Language is a human construct. It is not, nor has it ever been, set in stone.

        Additionally, marriage is far more than just a word. It is a civil institution. One that has evolved many, many times over the years.

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/03/2012 - 04:51 pm.

          However

          it has always been between a man and a woman. That is just objective fact.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/04/2012 - 08:30 am.

            “Because it’s always been this way”

            If “Because it’s always been this way” stood alone as a valid argument when making decisions, we’d all still be living in the Dark Ages.

          • Submitted by Ashley Bonine on 10/04/2012 - 10:19 am.

            So what?

            Your statement is simply an appeal to tradition, a logical fallacy. Just because something has always been a certain way, doesn’t mean that it has always been right. Should we have continued on with slavery because “it had always been that way”?

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/04/2012 - 10:36 am.

    Go ahead Lowell

    Put up a constitutional amendment to guarantee the definition of the word “employment” never changes. I would have thought the difference between a constitution and a dictionary was obvious but apparently not.

    Listen, I know some people think that it’s the governments role to enforces select traditions and define words, what I don’t is why some people think that?

    Many have already pointed out multiple times that the nature of marriage has been very diverse and flexible across cultures and history. The only objective fact we can locate here is that marriage has NOT always been between a man and woman.

  13. Submitted by Amanda Johns on 10/14/2012 - 12:59 am.

    Voting “NO”

    As Erin’s baby-sitter, I know very well their family dynamic.
    Their daughter is a thriving, happy, beautiful (looks just like Erin!), sweet, curious girl. She eats tons of veggies, fruits and organic foods. She loves her mommies and her puppy and the life they all share. Her drawers are lined with Gwen Stafani’s line of kids clothes, and more shoes than I own! She has books everywhere and will sit on my lap for an hour when I read to her.

    I have been lucky enough to be in their lives for a year now. I grew up Catholic. I was taught that marriage is for one man and one woman… I agree. One man. Left to his own heart’s desires- he can choose to spend his life with a woman or another man. And the same goes for women. One woman. With one other woman. They have had an immense amount of time to contemplate whether or not they want to be married. They haven’t had the opportunity to run off to Vegas, only to annul 19 hours later like some celebs and regular heterosexual families have. They know full well what’s ahead.
    Erin and her partner have made a lifetime commitment to their daughter, it’s legal, it’s on paper. They just want to be allowed to do the same for each other. I love their daughter very much, and I want the best for her, too.

    I was raised Catholic, as I stated. But the quickest way to find flaws in a religion is to have it forced down your throat for 8 years. It’s not hard to see that Catholics have some things wrong. Times change, we evolve.

    For this family, for my gay friends, for anyone in this fight, my vote will be no!

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