Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Marriage – Love Home Family Equality

Love.  Home.  Family.  Equality.  Three of those four words represent what it means to be a family in Minnesota.  We fall in love.  We live in a home together.  We are a family.  But we are not all equal.

I married my high school sweetheart.  We got married when we were 22, bought a home when we were 25, started our family when were 26, and are now working, enjoying life, and planning for the future.  After 18 years of marriage, we have established our own family traditions, we have acquired a lot of stuff, we are paying our mortgage and have a fair amount of equity in our house, less and less each year recently, but equity none-the-less, we are building a retirement portfolio, and we rely on each other for practically everything we do, and my wife is my best friend.

How different is that story from any other family in Minnesota?  Some of the details may be different, but the basic story is the same.  It doesn’t matter if the couples are Doug and Nancy or Steve and Andrea, or Jeff and Jason or Michelle and Connie.   We are in love and we are building a home and growing as a family.  Why should there be legal limitations on a family based on the person they love?  Why should one couple face legal restrictions when it comes to healthcare decisions, estate planning, parenting rights, and even separation rights, when other couples don’t?

If I died tomorrow, my wife would still have our house, both of our cars that happen to be in my name, my retirement fund, our bank accounts, my tools, my baseball gloves, my Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killebrew baseball cards, my books, my warm socks she sometimes wears in the winter and my priceless comforter, that my wife made for me when I went away to college, that has kept me warm for more than 20 years.  She would still possess all those things and have rights to those things because we are married.  There is no need to spend the time and money to have a lawyer prepare documents that protect her property rights from my family.

Unlike heterosexual couples that choose not to marry and risk those outcomes, a gay couple that wants to marry has no option.  In many instances families recognize the couple and respect their relationship, but even good families can act strangely and unpredictably when confronted with death.  Anger, grief, even individual economic or personal circumstances may cause family members to be irrational, opportunistic, ambivalent and even hostile toward partners.

I really believe this a basic human rights issue.  I think every couple deserves the same rights.  I think the idea of love, family and home should have equality added on to it.  I also believe this Marriage Amendment is happening at a momentous point in history.  I believe we are less than a generation away from hitting a point in time when people value the relationship itself more than whether it is a conventional relationship.  I think we see it in some of our younger Republican leaders who see this as a matter of being happy and enjoying the freedoms our soldiers fought and died for rather than a biased belief based in religion or habit.  It is already happening, we are on the cusp.  Half of Americans believe the federal government should recognize marriages among same-sex couples.

It is simply and purely common sense.  All couples, including gay and lesbian couple should have the same right to make a lifelong commitment to love and protect each other.   All couples should be given the tools and protections to protect their families, and the homes they have built together.  And all couples who are committed enough to make a life-long personal commitment to one another, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, deserve the cultural respect, social support, and legal protections that come with marriage.

That’s why I will be voting “NO” on the 2012 Minnesota Marriage Amendment that will ask Minnesotans to vote yes or no on the question: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

There is no reason that a slick campaign, an influx of advertising money, buzz phrases and smart wording should be the deciding factor on this amendment.  It is up to you and me to make sure people know what the impact is.  Tell your family it is wrong to vote yes for this amendment.  It doesn’t matter whether somebody disapproves of marriage between same-sex couples.  What matters is that we don’t have a right to decide how others live or what they do privately in with their lives and in their homes, when it is legal and they are of no harm to us, to their families, or to the rest of society.

Everybody deserves equality.  Without equal rights, we are not free.  All couples who wish to be married, should be married.  Love.  Home.  Family.  Equality.

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The Gay Marriage Ban and the Slippery Slope

The citizens of Minnesota are going to have the opportunity to vote on banning gay marriage in November 2012.  Outside of the obvious insecurity in their marriages or religious convictions, why is a single group of people advocating for the government to take away another group of people’s rights?  

Since we have this little thing called “separation of church and state” that was originated to keep the government neutral in matters of religious values, I guess it is safe to ignore perceived religious reasons for banning gay marriage.  Otherwise, that would just contradict the whole basis for why people persecuted for their religion came to America in the first place.  So that can’t be it.

It can’t have anything to do with procreation otherwise there would be a big push to ban elderly people from getting married.  I guess the best arguments they have is that it’s icky, or just look at what happened to the (insert now defunct empire here) Empire, and who knows what it would lead to next.

I’m fond of the “slippery slope argument,” what would it lead to next?  Wasn’t it Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum that used to use the “man on dog” analogy?  Good luck Rick on your run for President.  Yep, slippery slope, somehow gay marriages will start a chain reaction that will destroy the very existence of what marriage is and means.  The argument usually includes children, incest or animals, followed by the statement “we have to draw the line.”  

But what is great about any slippery slope argument is that there are always two sides to that slippery slope.  For instance, if we make it constitutional to disapprove of this type of marriages, where do we draw the line?  What if we require government approval to get married?  Or what if we follow the Catholic Church’s doctrine and deny divorcees of the right to marriage?  Why couldn’t we prevent an American citizen from marrying an immigrant?  Read with very sarcastic tone: Everybody knows that immigrants and THE gays brought down the Roman Empire…

Excluding the Republicans who have been terrified by three decades of fear mongering by political strategists and egomaniacal right-wing religious leaders, is it really for the rest of us to decide who can get married?  Should we care whether two consenting adults love each other enough to make a formal commitment to each other?

Obviously I’m not the only one who thinks two grown adults should have the same legal and tax rights that I have.  A recent CNN poll shows that a majority of Americans support gay marriage rights.  And opinions are drastically shifting on this issue toward more Americans supporting that right.  The changing poll numbers over the last two decades show how drastically public opinion is shifting in favor of gay marriage.  In 1990, less than 20% of the public supported gay marriage while about 70% opposed it.  In April 2011, 51% of the population thinks gay marriage should be recognized.  I expect that trend to continue, so this could be among the last couple years that a law like this could even be considered.

With public opinion shifting so quickly towards acceptance, you kind of wonder why this is so important to legislators who might be viewed quite negatively in a few years.  A couple days ago, we got a robo-call call from a Christian group pushing for this amendment.  Then it clicked.  Republicans are more concerned with supporting those radical groups that got them elected in 2012, than supporting the will of the people.  OK, got it.  I guess it had to be done, if nothing else for Republican political fundraising reasons. 

31 states have put a vote to ban gay marriage on the ballot, and it has passed in all 31 states.  I think Minnesota has the legitimate potential to be the first state to vote one down. That gives me hope, but I’m not looking forward to the flood of spending on divisive political TV and radio ads from local and national groups on both sides of the issue.

I kind of wonder what’s next though if they are successful, should gays be allowed to vote?

Jottings and Questions VI

Chris Barden

Sen. Amy Klobuchar vs. Chris Barden / Dan Severson
Here is an interesting nugget for people placing bets on who might be taking on Amy Klobuchar next year.  I wrote a post about Chris Barden and Dan Severson being potential GOP nominees.  Four of the last five days, there has been

Dan Severson

some sort of search for Chris Barden that has lead to my website.  No searches for Dan Severson have led to my website since I have been paying attention.  Maybe it is because I don’t have “Doc” anywhere on the site…

Taking a Stand Against Discrimination
The following video is getting a lot of attention nationally, and I think it is deserved.  I’m including it here because I think this 3 minute video really says a lot about what is going on in our society and the major difference between the two main political ideologies right now. 

Whether we are talking LGBT rights, budget, education, taxes, social issues or whatever, the thoughtfulness expressed in the idea that history is bending “towards justice, fairness, wholeness and openness and compassion” is exactly what separates the two main political ideologies right now.

Kudos to Representative Steve Simon.  This proposed amendment is in reality a law mandating discrimination, almost exclusively based on religious grounds.  As an American, I feel like we should never again mandate discrimination in law.  As a Minnesotan, I feel like we are better than this.  And as a Christian, I have a hard time believing this is how we were taught to express love.

I have no problem with him calling out the moral force of this anti-freedom argument, or even saying the people that vote for this bill will have to live with shame in the future.  I think it is true and I think it is shameful.

If you would like to show your support, consider giving a small donation to Representative Simon’s campaign.  But he won’t need as much money as the organizations that will be fighting this amendment will.  So also give a donation to The Minnesota DFL and Outfront Minnesota.  The best option is to give all three a little donation.  Also, take a moment and sign OutFront Minnesota’s petition against this amendment.