Love conquers all: Inhumane discrimination embarasses us as human beings

On Nov. 6, Minnesota will vote on whether to constitutionally define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, thus permanently barring the marriage of same-sex partners throughout the state. We believe this amendment to be a profound affront to personal freedom, the core of American values, based on homophobia and intolerance. We urge you to join us in voting “no.”

We’ve all heard the cries that marriage is under attack, and that this represents a defense of the family. But what, exactly, are we “defending” with this measure?

We are pretty sure we know the arguments of the amendment’s proponents in spite of their deafening silence on the House and Senate floors as hours of debate passed by before voting. They made almost no defense of the bill, save for a token “the people should decide.”

Yet many of the original bill’s sponsors—Rep. Steve Gottwalt, Sens. Warren Limmer, Dave Thompson, Sean Nienow, Dan Hall and Pam Wolf—make no mention of their signature accomplishment now that it’s campaign season. What are they afraid of? Shouldn’t the public know if they are to decide?

Marriage of same-sex couples does not threaten an opposite-sex couple’s family or marriage. Their life doesn’t change if a same-sex couple gets legally married.

In the modern age, marriage is an institution of love. This is a vote as to whether or not we should legally deny the validity of the love of people whose partners are the same sex as they are.

This is a vote as to whether or not we should deny such couples the right to visit their own partners in the hospital, pass off their investments to their partners in the event of death, or raise their own children without having to buy them back from the state.

And on what basis? Simply on the basis that some people are uncomfortable imagining them naked. Some people have a personal religious mindset that people with similar genitals loving each other is somehow morally wrong.

They are entitled to their religious beliefs, of course. This is America. They don’t have to marry someone of the same sex. Their place of worship doesn’t have to perform such marriages, if they prefer not to.

But they aren’t entitled to destroy the families of same-sex couples—or degrade and invalidate them—over those religious beliefs.

Same-sex couples are families too, either unto themselves or with children of their own. Same-sex couples work and love and sometimes have children just like opposite-sex couples do. Some same-sex couples have spent decades together, even as they fight upstream against the tide of legal complications and social bigotry they face.

The Minnesota Catholic Conference claims marriage has always been a man and a woman for the purposes of raising children, but nothing could be more historically false.

Polygamy, tiered marriages and the buying and selling of spouses as property are all models that existed within the framework of “marriage” over the last couple of millenia. Marriage has redefined itself more times than one could count. There is no such thing as a “traditional” marriage.

But they still insist same-sex marriage is against the moral fiber of America. Which America are they talking about? According to the latest Gallup poll in May 2012, a full 50 percent of Americans support the legalization and recognition of same-sex marriages.

What they mean when they say it is against the moral fiber of America is that it is against their personal religious beliefs. These are the same people claiming America is a Christian nation and should be based entirely on their personal interpretation of Christian morality.

But we are not a Christian nation. We’re a nation of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Pagans, agnostics, atheists, spiritualists and everything else under the sun. We are a nation of people, not of a singular religious belief. We’re a nation which specifically prohibits the rule of religion as the rule of the people. And even many Christians support the right of same-sex couples to marry.

But even where that not the case, they rest their argument on the fact that same-sex couples can’t conceive through intercourse with each other.

This is true. But if this is such a tantamount issue, why do we not hear them decrying marriages between infertile couples, or couples who are childfree by choice? Why do they not wish to ban marriage for opposite-sex couples who do not include biological children (or any children) in their marriage for one reason or another?

The many children already being raised by same-sex parents also have rights and needs, which the government wants to prevent their parents from providing to them.

With all of these limitations of what opponents of same-sex marriage think counts as a real relationship, why not define marriage as a union between one Christian man and one Christian woman who are willing and able to bear biological children?

Because that is not what marriage is today.

Marriage is a way of pledging oneself in love to another for life. For this pledge, the couple are afforded certain benefits ensuring they are legally able to properly care for each other at all stages of life, and also their children should they choose to have any.

This amendment is a vote as to whether or not we should devalue and degrade the contributions, emotions, and the children of same-sex couples.

But in America as understand it, diversity is celebrated and differences of belief tolerated. In America as we understand it, voting for this amendment would be treasonous against the values of personal and religious freedom upon which this country was founded.

We are gay, straight, Christian, atheist, male and female, and we urge you to vote “no” on Nov. 6. Protect the American ideal of freedom and justice for all, and the greater sense of humanity that celebrates love and happiness for families of all types.