Right side of right

Tomorrow in Minnesota we get to vote on whether to amend our state constitution to “protect” marriage as only between one man and one woman.  What do they mean by protection, is gay marriage an attack on straight marriage?  Is it a scarce resource that must only be allocated to straight people?  I don’t get this “protect” language.  

When they don’t say protect, they say traditional marriage.  But what is traditional marriage, and who defines it?  For many societies, the traditional was polygamy, but they aren’t fighting for that.  Here is what the bible says about marriage.

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More recently in America, inter-racial couples couldn’t marry.  So is traditional marriage the marriage between two people of the same race?

Now why are they trying to amend the constitution to limit the rights of people, that aren’t even rights yet? Well I think there are a few reasons here in Minnesota.

  1. State politics – Republicans didn’t have veto proof majority, so they only way to get it past Democratic Governor Dayton was to put in an amendment.
  2. Turnout–as in 2004 in other states, putting an issue like this on the constitution amendment will help rally the turn out of the more socially conservative members of our society.  And could help in other elections, like the Presidential one.
  3. Constitutionality–the writing is on the wall, the discrimination is clearly unconstitutional because it flies in the face of equality.

That is why the agents of intolerance must put this in the constitution, because that is the only way it will pass a constitutional challenge.  I don’t know much about constitutional amendments throughout the states, but when I think of federal constitutional amendments, I know that one got repealed.  That was Prohibition, and it was about limiting our freedoms and it didn’t last.

Now some other arguments that proponents of the amendment of intolerance make are about pro-creation and religious freedom.

One of the biggest lies is about pro-creation, oh it is a sneaky lie, because it sounds kind of rational, but it is a lie.  You will hear that the purpose of marriage is about pro-creation, about having kids and then raising them with a father and mother (research supports two parents are better households on average, but I know a lot of amazing single parents).  Yet, I don’t know of anything that requires married people to have children.  We let infertile (whether they are aware or not) to marry and we allow people (including post-menopausal women) to get married.  How about we amend the constitution to say that to get married folks must show they are sufficiently fertile to have children (mandatory fertility tests), and we put a clause in their marriage license that they must have a child within 5 years or the marriage is annulled.  And what about adoption, is that good enough or is it really pro-create only? 

What about religious freedom, should churches be forced to marry same-sex couples? No, of course not, and they won’t be.  We can’t make a church marry anyone it doesn’t want to.  But just because the Catholic church doesn’t want to marry same-sex couples (at least the Pope and US Bishops don’t) doesn’t mean the Universal Unitarians don’t.  When the Catholic church tries to imposes it’s religious beliefs on Unitarians, they are limiting religious freedom.  So that vote yes actually is limiting religious freedoms, not protecting them.  

I have heard a lot of talk about being on the right side of history and I think that is a very lame description. I don’t want votes out of a cool trendy reason, I want votes because people know that my friends Joel and Troy should have their marriage recognized by the state not just their church.  That is a country that was founded on the idea of equality and slowly we are actually working towards that ideal.  When straight couples that were of different skin tones (races) could marry each other, we expand the rights of all Americans.  This amendment won’t grant gay people the right to have a marriage recognized by the state of MN, but it does allow challenges to laws that limit marriage to straight couples to go forward.

-Josh