Come on, you know this had to be a political post. I could talk about who I am voting for in the presidential election tomorrow, but that's probably obvious. I can give you a clue--I have two agenda items that are most important to me: the environment and GLBT rights. I honestly look at very little else. Truth be told, every questionnaire I have taken makes me a Green Party voter but I made that mistake in the 2000 election (sorry AJT!), so I'm not going to do that ever again (or until we get rid of the two party system).
But I digress. I am writing to you today to talk about the proposed amendment to the Minnesota state constitution to add the definition of marriage to be the union of one man and one woman. I could come at this from so many angles on how wrong this amendment is, but I want to address the people who want to vote yes to this for religious reasons. In a perfect world, the government would not define marriage. In a perfect world, the government would have a say about civil unions and leave marriage as a ritual for religious purposes. That way, each church can decide who they will and will not marry. And then, you can decide which church you do or do not belong to based on how you feel, religiously, about the issue. But the church should have no power over the rights of citizens, gay or straight. That, folks, is why we have separation of church and state. Unfortunately, we have this term 'marriage' that hovers in that gray area. Many people think of marriage in a religious sense, but marriage is also bound by law and often defined by the law. Eventually it is my hope that the fight will be not to define marriage in the state's constitution, but to get rid of the word marriage, replace it with civil union, and make that the legally binding contract between two people that leads to the rights and benefits that your gay brothers and sisters are fighting for. And yes, in my world, civil union is not defined based on opposite gender partnerships. Marriage in a church in and of itself with no civil union paperwork behind it would hold no legal standing. Marriage would be something on top of the civil union: civil union gives you rights as partners, marriage gives your partnership the blessing of your church.
But, here we are in 2012 and that is not how it is. Marriage is the term being used, and marriage is the term being defined. So therefore we should not limit marriage in the constitution to be between one man and one woman because that will limit the legal rights of gay partners, and that is not fair. Religion has no place in this argument. At the end of the day, this is all about equal rights in the eyes of the law, not in the eyes of God. If you vote Yes, you are saying gay people are somehow lesser citizens. Let us be better than our ancestors who treated black people as second class citizens. We are all humans. Black, white, gay, straight. At the end of the day, that is all that should matter.