9-6-12 NYA Times Letters to the Editor

Writer supports ‘yes’ vote on amendment

To the editor:

This November the voters of Minnesota have a major decision to make regarding marriage in our society. I have been to several discussion groups on both sides of this issue and talked with many people about the Marriage Protection Amendment. It seems that many people are either undecided on the issue or have made their decision based on emotions or a superficial understanding of the implications of their vote.

The definition of marriage is far too important! We must be careful not to make our decision regarding this amendment based on emotions, half truths, lopsided media coverage, polls that can be skewed by the wording of the questions or the group of people polled, or by the amount of money being spent. As with most political issues these days, money and people pour in from outside of our state in order to influence Minnesota’s voters.

First of all, it is important to understand what passing the Marriage Protection Amendment would or would not do. If passed, it will NOT take away anyone’s rights. It is already Minnesota law that marriage is between one man and one woman, so no law would change. What the amendment would do, if passed, would put that definition of marriage into our constitution. That would assure that the law could not be changed except by the vote of the people. If the amendment does not pass, then our law is vulnerable and could be changed by a few activist judges or politicians who push their own agenda rather than listen to the will of the people of Minnesota at large.

I believe people on both sides of this issue are compassionate and have good intentions. They agree that all individuals are our brothers and sisters in this human race and should be treated with dignity and respect. Yet terms such as judgmental and intolerant and bigot or “second class citizens” are being used by the anti-amendment campaign.

Those derogatory terms are simply not true. Consider this: Our society has multiple situations every day where distinctions are made between groups of people. Men and woman have separate public bathrooms. Children under a specified height cannot go on certain rides in amusement parks. Senior citizens get discounts in many places. You must be 21 to buy alcoholic beverages. None of these distinctions between groups is being judgmental or intolerant.

There are many unmarried adults in this world, of all races, colors, creeds and sexual orientation. They are not considered second class citizens, simply unmarried people. Not everyone is called to a married vocation. There is no legal barrier in Minnesota based on sexual orientation that prevents two adults from buying a home together, opening joint bank accounts, designating each other as beneficiaries on their insurance policies or naming each other as a health care agent on their health care directives. They can live their lives together, if they wish, without the government’s intervention. Some people are indignant thinking that the government is intruding in people’s private lives regarding marriage. Changing the definition of marriage is not a matter of government intrusion, but rather is a very small but very vocal percentage of the population trying to use the power of the state to force all of society to accept the homosexual lifestyle.

We must not have tunnel vision when it comes to the potential redefinition of marriage! A change in the law would not just affect those couples who wish to marry.
If the government were to alter the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, this new so-called marriage would be a government creation and the long arm of the law would then reach into our lives in many ways that you might not think of initially.

Altering the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples imposes the desires of the few, no matter what the cost, onto the whole of society. To quote the author Matthew Kelly “The social and political reforms of our age have exalted the individual in a way that is unhealthy for society as a whole. Under the pressure and guidance of a number of special-interest groups that represent only a fraction of society at large, the rights of the individual have been gradually elevated and ultimately placed above the rights of society as a whole.” It is the government’s role to protect the common good of its people. To alter the meaning of marriage to be anything other than the union of one man and one woman would not be expanding the meaning of marriage, it would be losing sight of the truth of marriage.

Our society as a whole is already paying a very heavy price in many ways with so many children being raised in homes without both their mother and their father together in a lifelong, exclusive, loving, married relationship. We cannot control every detail in our lives, but we should all be striving to return to the ideal of a one-man-and-one-woman-for-life marriage, not continuing to stray further away from it.

I urge everyone to treat every human being with dignity and respect. I also encourage everyone to vote ‘YES’ for the Marriage Protection Amendment to preserve marriage as it truly is. (Do not ignore it! If you skip that question on the ballot it counts as a ‘no’ vote.) Thank you.

Connie Henninger