Here in Minnesota we will be voting in November on whether to make a change in our state’s constitution on the definition of marriage. The idea is to limit marriage only to one man and one woman. I don’t think we should be changing the constitution willy-nilly and this particular amendment would involve limiting freedom to citizens rather than extending freedom. It sounds backward to me for a constitutional document in a democracy to be doing that.
Well, I plan to vote “no” to changing the constitution. What I wrote above is one of the reasons. But there are a few others that I’d like to share.
- I am baffled when I hear people say that allowing same-sex marriage will in some way ruin the institution of marriage. Marriage as an institution has been in trouble for a long time, in my opinion. I can’t imagine that allowing homosexual citizens to marry could make it any worse. If I were to set out to improve the institution of marriage I would try to expose consumerism and how it impacts relationships. I would forbid movies and TV programs that show people how to be rude and hurtful to one another and that take sex out of the context of a loving relationship. I would stop clothing designers and musicians who use their art to perpetuate the idea that women are objects to be used for the pleasure of men. I would try to change the ethic of success in the work world that subordinates commitments to partners and to children. I would reduce the amount of time children’s activities take so couples could have some time together. I would re-create the economy so that all people could make enough money in one job so they would not have to take on several just to survive. I would introduce communication as a requirement in schools with classes for children in pre-school through high school. I would require that all couples getting married would have to take an intense course in how to love, honor, and respect another human being before they speak any vows to love, honor, and respect another human being. I would make sure marriage counseling was free for all couples wanting to get back on a right track as soon as they realized that their relationship is on a wrong one.
Alright, I will stop there. I think you get my point. The idea that gays and lesbians being able to marry will in some way effect existing heterosexual marriages is silly.
- The religious position. Well, anyone who has followed this blog already knows that I have a negative view toward people using the Bible to defend their bad attitudes and behaviors. Even though I know there are actual passages in the Bible that condemn homosexuality (very few, by the way) I know there are a host of passages we would not dare apply today. Like the one that tells you to cut off your hand if it causes you to sin or that say that physical illness is a consequence of a person’s sins. It is in using our God-given ability to think and reflect that man has come to see things differently. I don’t have to accept these passages as applicable today. The main reason I won’t is that it flies in the face of Jesus’ teachings on love. I will choose love. It is the only thing that makes sense to me.
- There is a lovely commercial being shown on Minnesota TV these days that shows an elderly couple who talk about their long marriage and their love for one another. They admit that in their younger days they would have denied the right of gays and lesbians to marry but now they feel differently. “Love is love, it belongs to everyone,” Mrs. Sweetlady says. I know a few homosexual people, some of whom have entered into a committed relationship. I see them as loving, caring, and responsible people. In a couple of situations, they have children. I especially would like to see legal marriage available to these so that the children can live in a stable home in which all the supports the states offer are there for their protection.
- The movement for the rights of gays and lesbians has been tainted by caricatures of people who flaunt a kind of tantalizing lifestyle that feels uncomfortable to a lot of people, including me. I am not a fan of heterosexuals flaunting a tantalizing lifestyle either. (I like the way Charles and Caroline Ingles of Little House on the Prairie presented their sexuality). I realize now that the lifestyle that is projected in the media is distorted and out of context. Like in any movements, eccentrics and loud people get all the attention. Same sex couples exist all around us made up of undividuals who share our same values and dreams. They suffer from the same illnesses, laugh at the same jokes, and have both good and bad attitudes like anyone else.
- Some people believe that if gays and lesbians are allowed to be married legally, churches will be forced to marry them. Actually, a change in the law would only mean that the state has to marry people, not churches. Individual denominations and communities could continue to decide whether to marry same sex couples. Right now, the state is actually telling some churches that they can’t decide as a community which marriages they want to bless.
- Those fighting for the marriage amendment already have what they want. Marriage in Minnesota is already limited to heterosexual couples. Same sex couples who want the same rights as these have to pay lots of bucks to create contracts to secure these rights for themselves and their families. Amending the constitution does not change that. My suspicion is that this effort to change the constitution is more about trying to control than anything else.
With or without the amendment, I think my gay and lesbian neighbors will one day be able to marry. I just don’t want to make it harder to get there. That is why I plan to vote “no” to changing the constitution.