Wednesday, June 08, 2011
[MN]Love and Marriage
The [MN]Love campaign was started to encourage marriage equity in our state. It grew in reaction to the legislative initiative to put a proposed amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution on the 2012 ballot. The amendment would define marriage as between one man and one woman, writing the discrimination against homosexual couples directly into the state's governing document. While our state legislators could not seem to find time to pass a budget (thus resulting in the impending government shut down, with its significant economic toll and many paychecks lost for state employees who actually DO their jobs...), they somehow decided it was a priority to ban gay marriages. Constitutionally.
In every other state where a similar vote has been brought to the people, gay marriage has been banned.
In support of the amendment, groups like NOM (National Organization for Marriage - yeah, right) have launched high-buck public relations campaigns ranging from disingenuous to down right offensive. I'm choosing not to quote or link to any of them.
Instead, I joined the [MN]Love campaign and had a family photo taken by Simon Scott Stromberg.
The "Marriage is..." Campaign asks Minnesotans to define what marriage means to them, and to share the photos "as a sign of your support for equality in our great and LOVING state!" I chose to get involved because I think these photos are a beautiful, personal, and truthful refutation of NOM's lies.
Anyone can have a wedding, but the legal ramifications of marriage are what truly define it for me and many other Minnesotans. As a married couple, we are officially a family unit for tax purposes, insurance benefits, Medicare, and social security. We have protections as far as custody of our daughter, survivorship, and next-of-kin decisions regarding medical care and end of life situations. If our relationship ends poorly, we have protections in the form of a process to follow dividing our assets, debts, custody, etc. In addition to the personal vows we took, we signed a legal document to become a married unit which reaffirms that marriage is a serious decision you cannot simply walk away from or reverse without consequence.
Fewer and fewer young people are choosing marriage these days. Marriage might be in danger, but it is in no way because of GLBT couples seeking these same protections. Allowing gay marriage would strengthen my, and every other marriage in the state by showing it is an important legal transaction. Legal marriage encourages a culture of monogamy, commitment, and stability. All of these things are good for families, for public health, and for the economy.
Weddings, the celebration of a marriage pump millions of dollars into the state economy each year, and we are way behind on extending marriage to this 10%+ of the population - in these hard economic times, why on earth would we not welcome these celebrations?
This is not a "gay issue." Please do not think it doesn't affect you if you are already married or allowed to marry - an act of bigotry written into our state constitution harms us all. It devalues not only our marriages, but every other law and foundation of our government when we allow corrupt ideals to find legal footing. Be sure to vote NO on the amendment in 2012 - I want The Cupcake to grow up in a state where she aspires to be married and have a family (if Grandkids are anywhere as amazing as GrammyCupcakes seems to think they are), where that decision is hers to make (with a little input from mom, of course), and where we support healthy, loving relationships of all forms.
The most important part of marriage is likely not the legal transaction, it is the promises. When two people enter a union, they set the parameters of their relationship in terms of what they value - be it religious, social, familial, etc. It is what makes every relationship unique and why we choose the partner we do - because we wish to build a life together under shared ideals. This part of marriage is not legislated, but without the legal aspect of marriage it is only recognized by and significant to the couple involved. We need the legal aspect of marriage to make it more than a fading tradition, and to give value to ALL marriages, including those based on different belief systems than our own. It is why I believe that
"Marriage is OUR choice, not our neighbors'."
This isn't American Idol. This shouldn't be up for a vote. Our politicians should be ashamed of themselves for making it into one - we certainly didn't vote on any of their marriages, nor should we. Now that they have taken this action, it is important to act. Vote NO on the constitutional amendment in 2012, don't write discrimination into the constitution.
Minnesotans United for All Families