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.
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.
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.
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).
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. 🙂