October 24, 2012 by Gina
The first Tuesday in November is usually just another Tuesday like any other day of the week. Except, when that first Tuesday comes every fourth year during a national election year. It’s hard to believe that election day is less than two weeks away! We don’t watch a lot of television and our radio is usually tuned to KFAN (sports radio) or Minnesota Public Radio. So this election, I feel that I’ve avoided many of the ads and campaigns that can get so nasty. I have followed the debates, local candidates and national and local issues despite this avoidance of negative advertisements.
I believe strongly about voting. It’s just something we as Americans should do, regardless of which side you vote for. This is the sixth Presidential election I’ve voted in and during half of those, I voted absentee because I lived out-of-state or overseas. There is something magical about walking into the polling place and casting an actual vote. I remember going to the polls with my parents as a child and couldn’t wait to do it myself. I’ll be taking my young boys to witness my voting and show them the importance of taking part in civil society.
So, as an adult, I always vote, even in those off-year local elections. Minnesota has an interesting and controversial referendum on the ballot this November 6th. The Minnesota Marriage Amendment would define marriage in our state constitution as between one man and one woman. The text of the amendment reads:
Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.
“Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.”
According to Ballotpedia, if passed, the proposed amendment would be added to Article XIII of the Minnesota Constitution, reading “Section 13. Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” Article XIII includes such items as preserving fishing and hunting, the state seal usage, establishment of uniform school services and other items.
Those are the facts of the proposed amendment. That’s the only simple part of this debate. Both the proponents and opponents feel strongly about this issue, as do I and I’ll share some of my views here. Please remember, these opinions are mine alone and do not reflect those of other “More than Mamas” authors and contributors.
I have a “Vote NO” sign in my yard – it’s the only political sign you’ll find on my lawn. I feel strongly that our state constitution should not be altered to limit rights now or in the future. This amendment, if passed, would make legalized marriage for same-sex couples very difficult in the state of Minnesota in the future. This is a legal, constitutional issue for me. If churches and religious groups want to limit marriage to heterosexual couples, fine – don’t marry same-sex couples or recognize their committed relationships. But I don’t feel that these same organizations should have any impact on the legal, civil definition of marriage and limiting rights for same-sex couples.
I have many gay and lesbian friends now and throughout my life. Many are in committed relationships and want to marry their partners. They are working in our community, raising their children and struggling with all the issues we as heterosexual couples struggle with on a daily basis. Their relationships and who they love has no negative impact on my life as a married, heterosexual woman.
I am not alone in my thoughts and feelings. There are so many organizations, businesses and people who believe we should not alter our constitution or limit the freedom of our citizens. General Mills, St. Jude Medical, Thomson Reuters and other Minnesota-based companies have all said the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, if passed, would limit their ability to recruit and retain top talent.
I understand that this is a controversial issue for many people, rooted in religion, tradition, upbringing and experiences. My opinion is that we should be inclusive and not limit the freedom to marry for our citizens. Whatever you decide on this issue or on the national and local levels, just get out and vote. It’s an important part of our civic duty! See you at the balloting booth!
For more information on “Voting NO” the main organization is Minnesotans United for All Families. For more information on “Voting YES” to this amendment, the main organization is Minnesota for Marriage.