Thirdeyemom

SUNDAY SOCIAL GOOD: Minnesota’s “Vote No” Campaign

The state of Minnesota has always been known for its political activism and each election season you become accustomed to the massive influx of lawn signs that spring up all over the State, especially in urban areas.

Coming from Chicago, I was surprised to see so many people strongly stating their political beliefs for the world to see smack in front of their house. But after twelve years of living in Southwest Minneapolis, a particularly liberal section of town, I’ve become quite used to the excitement and involvement of our community when it comes to showing one’s support for candidates as well as ideas.

My block is similar to others in Southwest Minneapolis. It is amassed in Orange Signs.

This year, however, a new kind of sign has been popping up all over town. A sign that is is bright orange and states loud and clear how a homeowner or community feels about freedom and a person’s constitutional rights as not only a Minnesotan, but as an American citizen and even a human being. The “Vote No” Sign.

The “Vote No” sign is in opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota to Same-Sex Marriage:

This November will be the first time that Minnesota will include Amendment 1 on the ballot and the measure would would define marriage in the Minnesota Constitution as between one man and one woman in the state.

Unlike previous, unsuccessful attempts to place a marriage amendment on the ballot, the 2012 measure may leave open the possibility of same-sex civil unions. However, even so, there has been much heated debate and fighting from both sides on whether or not this amendment should be passed.

Minnesota Democrats have been extremely vocal on their opposition to the proposed amendment along with several CEOs of large Minnesota-based companies and the leading advocacy group Minnbesotans United for Alll Families (who provides the signs for a small donation).  Even Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton (Democrat) opposes the proposed amendment. Speaking at a gay rights rally, Gov. Dayton stated, “I’m here to support those Minnesotans and Americans who want the same rights, freedoms, opportunity, respect, dignity and legal protections and legal opportunities as every other one of their fellow citizens… which is the founding principle of this country!”

On the other side remains largely the Republican party and unfortunately a strong push from the religious right and other religious institutions who have posted up billboards around suburban and rural Minnesota depicting the “traditional” family including man, wife and children.

It is important to note that not all Republicans or people of faith are supportive of the ban and the same applies on the other side of the battle as well.

There has been a lot of support from some religious institutions and people.

Besides Catholics, other religions have also been against the ban such as this well-known Synagogue down the street with a huge banner.

How ever you stand on this issue is your right. I believe strongly in the freedoms that this nation was founded on. What is driving me completely crazy about this issue is that it really shouldn’t be about religion, the scapegoat reasoning. It should be about human rights and the right to be who you are, what you are and love who you want to love. Even if you believe that “God” does not want you to be gay or want gay people to marry, He never once advocates bigotry.

The argument that allowing gay marriage will “disqualify” hetersexual marriages even drives me more mad. What about the fact that 50% of all marriages end in divorce? When you get married don’t you make a promise with God to be married “Until death do us part”. What about all the affairs and domestic violence? Can we seriously call heterosexual partnerships the “ideal” and say that gay couples can’t be a good couple or make a good family just because they are gay? This is all complete nonsense and just a way for believers to logically confirm their beliefs for they definitely don’t want to sound like a bigot do they?

In my humble albeit strong opinion, it all  sounds like just a disguised way of promoting bigotry. If racism is wrong, why isn’t it wrong to be anti-gay? Shouldn’t we treat everyone regardless of race, religion, sex and sexual orientation equal? Even if you don’t buy this argument, what about the argument that as Americans we should have freedom? Isn’t putting a ban in our constitution severing this freedom which our country has been founded on?

I am an American, albeit a liberal one. I understand that not everyone shares, understands or even respects my beliefs.  But regardless I believe that all human beings are created equal and it is a basic human right to have freedom. Once we start endorsing bigotry into our constitution, we are losing the entire belief system that our amazing country was based on. Liberty, Justice and Freedom for all.

I hope Minnesota does the right thing on November 6th and makes me proud.

Polls: So where do we stand now? 

  • A May 2-5, 2011 Star Tribune poll found that 39% of respondents supported the measure while 55% opposed it. The poll surveyed 806 Minnesota adults with a sampling error of +/- 4.7 percent.A poll conducted September 10-11, by Public Policy Polling, shows an even split in Minnesota voters. The poll found that 48% of voters currently support the ban, 47% oppose it, and the remaining 5% are undecided. The survey was given to 824 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/-3.4%. The amendment would add a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution.
  • A poll conducted October 5-8, by Public Policy Polling, shows the amendment losing support of some Minnesota voters. The poll found that 46% of voters currently support the ban, 49% oppose it, and the remaining 5% are undecided. The survey was given to 937 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/-3.2%. The amendment would add a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution.[58]

*Source: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Minnesota_Same-Sex_Marriage_Amendment,_Amendment_1_(2012)

As of today’s paper (Star Tribune), a “multi-million dollar fight over a constitutional amendment (come on people, can’t we spend our money elsewhere!!!!) to ban same-sex marriage remains a statistical dead heat” and the figures haven’t changed much since September. Although the race appears to have tightened, the support for the ban (about 48% right now) falls short of the 50% needed to change the MN Constitution. Per the Star Tribune., “Amid a blitz of TV advertising and other spending by both campaigns, the poll is the latest sign the race will be the most expensive and divisive ballot question in state history”.

I find this utterly sad. When education is hurting, people are suffering and living in poverty even in this glorious state, to have to spend this kind of money to put a ban on gay marriage into our constitution, a sure sign of bigotry and hatred, is just plain old sad.

Perhaps even more interesting is to look at the breakdown of supporters and opposers (Source: Star Tribune 10/28):

Here is one more fact about the distribution of constitutional bans on gay marriage across the nation (Source: Wikipedia. For full page, click here).

English (en):  Constitutional bans on same-sex unions in the United States, by state
Black: Constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage, civil unions, and any marriage-like contract between unmarried persons
Dark Red: Constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage and civil unions
Lighter Red: Constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage
Lightest Red: Constitutional amendment grants legislature authority to ban same-sex marriage
Gray: No constitutional amendments


November 6th is a big day. It will set about how our country will be ruled for the next four years. However, for Minnesota it could change a way of life that I’m proud of, for years to come. Lets just hope that Minnesotans do the right thing. Even if they don’t agree with the gay lifestyle and marriage, please don’t allow hatred and bigotry into our constitution. Please allow everyone to live with life, liberty and justice for all. 

Author’s note: I debated for a long time about whether or not I felt comfortable writing such a piece as I know the issue is a highly contested one with strong beliefs on both sides. In the end, I realized that this is such an important human right issue that I had to let my voice be heard. Please respect my viewpoint as my own. Feel free to leave comments even if you disagree with the issue. But please do not leave even comments of hate. I wrote this piece to have a healthy debate, not one of hatred. 🙂

26 comments

  1. It’s great you’re speaking out. We have a responsibility to speak out against bigotry and hatred in all its forms. What a shame to be spending so much money to try to legislate other folks’ private lives when there are so very many real and legitimate needs out there.

    • Thanks Jeanette! I completely agree that it is tragic that we have to spend all this money on fighting an amendment. My gay neighbor who I adore pointed out that gay marriage is already illegal. So why are people doing this? Very sad.

  2. A friend of mine shared this, and I have been sharing with others — As I stated when sharing, “Because love is love is love . . . vote “no” . . . I dare say most of you have friends who may forever be prevented from marrying their old love if this proposed MN constitutional amendment passes.” It is an issue that cuts across political and religious “lines” because it is a civil rights issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLk5Gsmlg3Y&feature=player_embedded I saw this Anna Quindlen quote recently, and believe it is so fitting: “Look back, to slavery, to suffrage, to integration and one thing is clear. Fashions in bigotry come and go. The right thing lasts.” ~ Anna Quindlen. I am confident that homophobia shall pass, as well, and hopefully sooner rather than later. The right thing lasts. ~ Kat

    • Wow Kat. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom. I totally agree and am so stunned that this kind of bigotry is happening. It does seem archaic. It is so hard to imagine the days of segregation and when women were denied the right to vote. I truly hope that this will pass and my children will see a better day when people don’t hate due to the color of their skin or the people they choose to love.

  3. Sas

    My personal belief is that in years to come the fact that anyone was not allowed to marry will seem as archaic as people having to sit in different seats on the bus according to their skin colour or women not being allowed to vote. We need more people like you to keep these debates going and to make sure we keep the freedom that our ancestors fought so hard for.

      • Sas

        Hi Nicole, I thought you might be interested in reading today’s headlines here in England and Wales http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20680924 Unfortunately it looks like we’re going backwards, not forwards, here, even though our Prime Minister is in support of same-sex marriage. I was shocked when I read this article, rest assured people will keep campaigning though.

      • Thanks so much! I did read it and agree I was surprised. Are there more pushes in your legislation for or against gay marriage? The Supreme Court is going to hear two cases soon. Should be interesting but my husband and I believe truly it is only a matter of time until it is accepted. Thanks for thinking of me and sending me this article! I would have surely missed it as our paper here does not cover much international news unless it involves scandal, death or war!

      • Sas

        The news wasn’t a big headline here either. I was surprised as to a lot of us it’s a big deal. I think they buried it. Thankfully civil partnerships are legal here, regardless of gender.

      • Sas

        Civil partnerships have been official here since 2004. Before that, it was up to individual churches and venues if they allowed ‘blessings’. I guess like a lot of people I assumed same sex marriage would be the next natural step, but unfortunately church leaders in the Church of England and the Church in Wales voted against it. They always complain that not enough people go to church but then they alienate huge parts of the population. I’m not welcomed by either church because I’m not baptised. You’re right, though, we’re lucky that gay people in the UK do have rights. My boss and his husband had a civil partnership last year, and they both looked so amazing in their suits in the wedding photos. I try to feel comforted by the fact that one day the thought that we even debated these issues will seem archaic.

  4. Well written post, Nicole. I agree that it all boils down to bigotry. And it is sad that millions are spent on something like this (and wars) when there are people begging for food and shelter on the street.

    • Thanks Angeline. It makes me boil to think of what could have been done with this money. It already isn’t legal so why on earth did we have to spend millions on this amendment? It is really sad.

  5. MommaExpat

    I agree with Angeline completely. We seriously need to begin to separate politics and constitutional rights from religion (not faith, but religion). Thank you for sharing all of this!!!

    • Thanks! Hope you are doing well! What has the election coverage been like over in Paris? Curious to know. I’m really hoping that things go well nationwide and for MN. We also have a crazy amendment on voter registration that is ridiculous as well. Normally I’ve been happy with liberal, democratic MN. But we do have some very right wingers.

      • MommaExpat

        I don’t have TV so basically whatever I see or hear about is posted through blogs and on FB/Twitter. There was an article released this week that said that if the French got to vote, they’d re-elect Obama. =)

  6. Mel

    Thank you for speaking out. When WI pushed through their ridiculous version, I never did much to stop it. At the time, I was so certain it wouldn’t pass – that anyone reading it would be out of their mind to want it. How wrong I was! I’ve been volunteering across the state border for MN United for All Families for the last month, hoping that I can help prevent such a grievous infringement of rights from being written into the state constitution. I’ve had some great conversations with people in the call center – including many elderly people who, after listening to what I had to say, truly seemed willing to change their views. I look forward to pulling my 4yr old around in a wagon next weekend while knocking on doors to remind people to vote.

    • Wow, Mel. How wonderful of you to be so involved! I have been to a few events for United for All Families but have not had the chance to volunteer which I regret. I too have young children and our neighbors as well as some of my friends are wonderful gay couples. I am feeling positive that this won’t pass but will continue to spread the word and use my voice. What a great role model you are being for your child! I’m hoping too that my kids will grow up to not see the things that divide us but the things that bring us together! 🙂

  7. We are on different sides of the fence here, but I totally respect that you have an opinion and am glad that you are sharing it in such an eloquent manner! Thank you! =)

    The thing that really bothers me about political debates between civilians is that we are not very civil in the process. If someone is hoping to sway my vote one way or another, it would not happen after an explicit statement that I am a hateful bigot. 😉 As you said, everyone is entitled to their *opinion* and those that are aligned on EITHER side fully BELIEVE that they have the more correct opinion.

    As a point of reference for you, I am a Bible-believing Christian person. I have read time and time again that homosexuality is wrong. For me to cast a ballot that would suggest that I do not believe that is wrong, would be for me to deny that I believe that God’s word is infallible. For me to vote NO is equatable for me to vote against God. Does that make any sense?

    That being said, yes, I have friends who are homosexuals. I think they assume my vote will be yes, as I assume theirs will be no. They think no less of me for my vote, nor I for theirs! There is no name-calling – we just recognize that we have different beliefs on the subject.

    I would love our civilian discussions to one day be respectful and civil!!

    Thanks for bravely sharing your thoughts. I’m sure it took a lot of courage! =)

    • Thank you too for sharing your thoughts! I think we do need a civil debate about this topic and not just meanness. I strongly believe that everyone has a right and freedom to their own opinion. I hope I didn’t sound too offending on my side. It is a tricky line to draw.
      As for your point I believe you meant you would vote “yes” not “no” as the no vote is to vote no to adding the constitutional ban on gay marriage. It is confusing terminology isn’t it?! Your point definitely makes sense and I do respect it.
      I just feel sad that we spent so much money on something that is already illegal, no matter what side you are on.
      🙂 Thanks again for your words! 🙂

  8. HA! Yes!! I mis-typed! I DID mean YES. =) I definitely agree on the exorbitant monies thrown toward this issue though! My only concern would be that if it not decided upon as a STATE, it will be legislated from the bench – by one person who is extreme one way or another. And THAT should be a scary thought for ALL of us. I would rather have the majority speak than have one person speak for the majority!!

    You did not offend, BTW. I appreciated your point of view. =)

    • Oh … Also wanted to share that the term bigot implies hatred and intolerance toward other’s opinions/beliefs. Many in the Christian realm have an issue with that word only because WE are the only ones considered intolerant. While I do not believe that I am intolerant, I can honestly say that I have met MANY people that are intolerant of ME and MY beliefs. I guess I have a problem with the world asking Christians to be tolerant, but then not receiving the same *tolerance* in return. JMVHO. Still in respect of your viewpoint!! =)

    • Mel

      Jesus also taught us to love one another and not to judge each other, because God alone passes final judgement. Voting YES on this issue specifically discriminates against people whose beliefs are different than yours – which is unconstitutional and wrong. It’s no different than denying the right to vote to women because of their gender, or African Americans based on their race. Voting YES also limits religious freedoms – again, unconstitutional. Just because the church to which you belong doesn’t want to marry gay people doesn’t mean other churches shouldn’t be allowed to do so. No one would ever say it’s right to force a Church to marry gay people if they don’t want to, so why is it ok to prevent it for other churches? it wasn’t so long ago that it two people of different races couldn’t legally marry – something that is certainly unacceptable today. Why is the issue of gay marriage so different? Voting NO isn’t a vote for gay marriage (which will remain illegal regardless of the outcome). Instead, it’s a vote for liberty and freedom to live as you please, provided you harm no one else. Whether gay people are eventually allowed to marry In MN does not change marriage for you or for anyone else – it merely gives gay people the same rights and freedoms that you already enjoy.

      First they came for the communists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

      Then they came for the socialists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

      Then they came for me,
      and there was no one left to speak for me.

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