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BLOG: Momentum Grows to Defeat Amendment Limiting Freedom to Marry

Memo from Minnesotans United for All Families on the growing momentum to defeat the amendment.

Editor's Note: This post originates with Burnsville Patch, but given the fact that it addresses a statewide issue it has been cross-published across Patch's Minnesota sites. If your organization also wishes to blog about a statewide issue, please contact the editor of the nearest Patch.

In the past week, momentum to defeat the proposed Constitutional amendment to limit the freedom to marry has intensified, with thousands of Minnesotans across the state joining our campaign, hosting house parties and preparing to defeat this amendment in November. This campaign is truly the most energetic grassroots campaign Minnesota has ever seen.

Last week’s vote in North Carolina approving a similar amendment has galvanized Minnesotans against the amendment in our state. People from across the state are coming out in droves to get involved in the campaign. President Barack Obama made history Wednesday when he came out in favor of the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples. His decision reflects the fact that, more and more, Americans from all walks of life and across party lines are reaching the conclusion that we should not limit the freedom to marry, and that doing so rejects the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In the wake of President Obama’s statement, the conversation about the freedom to marry continues to spread across the state. Minnesotans are on a journey when it comes to their opinions on marriage for gay and lesbian couples — and the more Minnesotans have these important conversations about love, commitment and responsibility, the more likely they are to agree that marriage is for everyone.

This weekend, Minnesotans United for All Families will host One Day United, an event featuring more than 200 house parties across the state, bringing together thousands of people to discuss what marriage means to us here in Minnesota and how its critical that we defeat this freedom-limiting amendment. 

Momentum is growing rapidly, and with just over five months until Election Day, Minnesotans United for All Families is confident this will be the first state to say no to limiting the freedom to marry.

MOMENTUM TO DEFEAT FREEDOM-LIMITING AMENDMENT INTENSIFIES

• STAR TRIBUNE LAUDS PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR LEADERSHIP, ENCOURAGES MINNESOTANS TO DEFEAT AMENDMENT IN NOVEMBER. In this weekend’s Star Tribune, the editorial board opined that President Obama’s voice on marriage should be heard in Minnesota, and said, “Now that Obama has announced his position, we hope he'll be a leader in ending discrimination against gays. Perhaps he can start by encouraging Minnesotans to defeat the same-sex marriage amendment when he campaigns here next month.” [Star Tribune, May 13, 2012]

• NEW POLL SHOWS CLEAR MAJORITY OF MINNESOTA VOTERS BELIEVE THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES SHOULD HAVE FREEDOM TO MARRY. A recent SurveyUSA poll conducted for KSTP showed 52 percent of respondents agreed with President Obama that same-sex couples should be able to get married, and only 42 percent disagreed. This poll suggests a growing number of Minnesotans are changing their opinions: a November 2011 Star Tribune poll showed 48 percent of Minnesotans supported the amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman, with 43 percent opposed. [KSTP-TV, May 13, 2012]

• MINNESOTA REPUBLICANS TO VOTE ON DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE. Demonstrating that the conversation on marriage is happening all over the state and across party lines, delegates to the GOP State Convention this weekend will vote on “whether to change the party’s platform to eliminate the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.” [Minnpost, May 10, 2012]

• PRESIDENT OBAMA AFFIRMS FREEDOM TO MARRY. On Wednesday, May 9, President Obama made history when he became the first sitting president to say publicly that he supports the freedom to marry for all couples. President Obama said his opinions on marriage for gay and lesbian couples have evolved over time and he has now come to the conclusion that “same-sex couples should be able to get married.” [ABC News, May 9, 2012]

• LONG-TIME MINNESOTA REPUBLICAN AGREES WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA. Following President Obama’s statements on Wednesday, Minnesotan Republican Wheelock Whitney, a board member of Minnesotans United for All Families, released a statement saying this amendment would limit the freedom of Minnesotans and conflicts with the state’s “strong tradition of practicing the golden rule, of rejecting too much intrusion into our personal lives, and of not mixing religion and politics. There is not a bone in my conservative body that tells me that we should limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples.” [MN United, May 9, 2012]

• FOURTH MINNESOTA ELCA SYNOD OPPOSES AMENDMENT. On Saturday, the Northwest Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which represents more than 107,000 members, became the fourth group to pass a resolution opposing the amendment. The Northwestern Minnesota Synod is the fourth in Minnesota this year to vote to publicly oppose the proposed amendment that would limit the freedom to marry. The Minneapolis Area Synod, the Northeastern Minnesota Synod and the Southeastern Minnesota Synod have all passed similar resolutions. The Saint Paul Area Synod is expected to pass a similar resolution at its annual assembly in Burnsville this week. [MN United, May 12, 2012]

-------

Kate Brickman

Press Secretary

Minnesotans United for All Families

www.mnunited.org
kate@mnunited.org
cell | 815-343-9299

office | 651-330-6852

twitter | @katebrickman

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Susan May 31, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Tim, I really like this idea, provided that those with civil unions are given the same rights (benefits) as those who are married. I think this would solve many problems as it seems using the word "marriage" may be why some Christians have a problem with this issue. As far as why it hasn't been done...I have no idea, maybe because it makes sense, and our government doesn't always like to give common sense a try.
Tim June 01, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Susan, The rights will be the same because "married" does not exist in the government. Only civil union. But I have always felt that there was an undercurrent in this battle that would make my solution unexceptionable. Having listen to the debates, I believe that at least a portion of those in a same sex relationship who want more than just equal rights and benefits with heterosexual couples. I believe they hope to achieve legitimacy for their lifestyle choice in religious circles by obtaining "marriage" in the secular world. There are some very strong emotions on both sides of that argument - ones that I don't care to make or debate. But it's that emotion which I believe is inhibiting what nearly everyone agrees is fair - that the government be free to recognize and provide equal rights to all through a government established process. Just don't call it marriage. Because that starts down the slippery slope of religious beliefs and governmental actions.
C June 01, 2012 at 02:39 AM
There are churches now that marry same-sex couples. I don't think the hold up is same-sex couples seeking religious legitimacy. Same-sex couples already have legitimacy in many religious circles. The real undercurrent is that there are a lot of self-righteous people who believe they are doing God's work by imposing their religious views on everyone else.
Jim June 01, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Susan, Marriage was originally a religious function. Government got involved and should get out of the religious function. Again churches perform many rites that Government has no control over, marriage needs to be another religious rite with NO Government involvement. Government should have NO control over what a church does unless a crimminal law is broken like assualt etc.
Susan June 02, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Jim, believe me when I say that I understand what you are saying, but I think you are missing what I am saying...which is that I agree with you! On one level anyway - I don't think government should have any ruling authority over a church. But you also must realize that you are not going to dissolve marriages that are not sanctioned by a church. It is already part of our legal system, it is not going to magically disappear. Whether it is called marriage, a civil union, or the government just requiring a contract between two people, it will continue to happen, and the government needs to ensure equal rights for all when it comes to these contracts.
Susan June 02, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I am not sure how wanting legitimacy, whether in the secular world or religious circles, would be wanting "more" equal rights and benefits than those who are married. I would think that one would be drawn to a church that already accepts who they are...which would not necessarily have been their lifestyle "choice".
Michael Cavlan, RN June 09, 2012 at 03:51 AM
In my campaign for U.S. Senate in 2012, I will work to help defeat this amendment that would limit freedom to marry. I would encourage everyone to vote NO on this issue.
Markus June 09, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Laurence M. Vance articulates what the libertarian (and of course, correct) position should be. http://lewrockwell.com/vance/vance292.html
Susan June 09, 2012 at 01:11 PM
"And if the federal government should recognize same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, civil unions, consensual contracts, or voluntary agreements of homosexual couples for tax, Social Security, and other purposes, then it should likewise recognize similar legal arrangements of heterosexual couples, whether male/male, female/female, or male/female." "One’s opinion of same-sex relationships – whether wonderful, wholesome, unnatural, or disgusting – has nothing to do with the issue. Libertarians as individuals may support or oppose the "marriage" or legal arrangements of same-sex couples – just like they may support or oppose the health benefits of Vitamin C or the use of child safety locks – but that doesn’t mean there is a libertarian position on it." Laurence M. Vance So does this mean you will vote no? This article almost seems to be a lump of contradictions. The government should not be in the marriage business, yet if they are, every one should be treated the same, yet a Libertarian can hold their own personal beliefs on the subject, as the Libertarian party doesn't really have a position...
Markus June 09, 2012 at 04:58 PM
"just as government may not redefine our rights as individuals, it has no authority to redefine marriage." It has been said that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. This is why I also said, and here reiterate, that "marriage has always been and will forever be the union of a man and a woman" and that "anything else is just cohabitation, fornication, civil union, voluntary contract, or domestic partnership, whether it is called a marriage or not." From a previous article: "But more importantly, and as I have also argued, the state should get out of the marriage business. Why do governments at every level require a license for people to engage in consensual, peaceful activity? And not only that, in some states there is not only a hefty fee to get a marriage license, but a required waiting period or recommended premarital counseling course. Why do two individuals need the state’s permission to get married? Who knows better if two individuals are fit to be married than the two individuals? If they want advice regarding their union, they can consult their pastor, parents, co-workers, and/or friends. It is none of the state’s business. Continued...
Markus June 09, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Marriage predated the state. It needs no protection, regulation, or monitoring by the state to continue its existence." From the Libertarian platform: "Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships." This all seems pretty succinct. It all gets back to the right of freedom of association. You should be free to associate with whomever you choose and engage in any behavior you find acceptable as long as all parties are consenting adults and you're not hurting anyone else. Why do we need the government to sanction or approve it? In case you missed it, the author is advocating for the government to mind its own business when it comes to associations and suggesting the government has no authority to redefine marriage. Supporters of homosexual "marriage" are seeking to re-define the term either to gain wide social acceptance, which will likely never happen, or to gain some sort of benefit (likely monetary). If it were merely philosophical, it's highly unlikely we'd be having this discussion. Not sure yet how I will vote, but probably a reluctant yes simply because I don't believe the state has the authority to redefine what marriage has been traditionally known as. If I had the chance, I would definitely vote to get the government out of the marriage business altogether.
Susan June 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
As always, a thoughtful and informative argument. I agree with your logic, but I have a hard time seeing government getting out of the marriage business. Whether it is acceptance, monetary, or simply wanting to be allowed the same rights as heterosexual married couples (under the law), I think it should be equal, and will vote no.
Terry Elliott June 09, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Opponents say "The amendment isn't needed because the law is already in force." But of course they disagree with the law that is in force now. Which is why we need the amendment. Easy one.
Veda Kanitz June 09, 2012 at 06:12 PM
I think many comments left here lack recognition that this amendment affects real people in real loving, committed relationships. Same-sex couples may be in a minority but that doesn't mean they don't deserve the right to marry. This involves a paradigm shift for some but in the end I truly believe Minnesotans, like our President, will come to understand that we cannot support legislation that discriminates.
Thomas June 10, 2012 at 12:08 AM
yup, that is what I am saying. I don't believe in gay marriage and never will. I don't care what liberals think of my decision. I have no desire to support their agendas.
Thomas June 10, 2012 at 12:14 AM
no it isn't. it is about a small number of people wanting the rest of society to accept their lifestyle. I predict the amendment will pass here just as it has in the vast of majority of states which have voted on it. Common sense will win out.
Michael Cavlan June 11, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I was raised where people faced anti-Catholic bigotry and intolerance. I have friends and family who were killed just for being Catholic. That place of course is northern Ireland. Bigotry should always be opposed and tolerance should always be encouraged and respected. As a long time supporter of the Ron Paul Campaign For Liberty I will encourage true believers in Liberty and Justice for All to Vote No on the Marriage Amendment. Michael Cavlan RN Candidate US Senate 2012 Minnesota Open Progressives
Al Anderson June 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
My challenge to this press release being featured on the Patch is not about the content. However, I've been clearly told many times by Patch editors that only "hyperlocal" concerns are to be featured. This issue is national/international in scope and accordingly (based on what I;ve been told by the Patch) this doesn't belong here. Why the double standard?
Michael Rose June 11, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Hi Al, Thanks for writing. Let me try to address your concern in a two-fold way: 1) While this issue may not be hyperlocal like a local city council or school board, I also wouldn't deem it "national/international." There is a clear Minnesota tie here, and as such, people in local communities will likely have an interest. Also, this more general post might (and hopefully will) encourage local religious leaders and others to blog on their respective Patch sites, further narrowing the scope. 2) Even with larger issues, we do encourage area residents to blog on their respective Patch sites. So if a St. Louis Park resident wanted to write about the presidential election, for example, on SLP Patch, I'd welcome that. I hope this addresses your concern, Al. -Michael Rose, editor of St. Louis Park Patch
Al Anderson June 11, 2012 at 05:04 PM
MIchael Thanks for the message - however, I must respectfully disagree with the consistency of the Patchs' message. I've been told over and over when challenging the "hyperlocal" issue on the St Michael patch site that only items of immediate local interest would be covered. For example, during Michele Bachmanns' presidential campaign run - there was a daily "Bachmann bash" feature. When challenging why a national event was being covered at all in a "hyperlocal" site, I was told that because Michele was from the 6th CD that this was a point of local interest. When I asked when similar "features" about Al Franken or Amy Klobuchar were forthcoming (it is an election year after all) - I was told that these politicians cover the entire state and therefore didn't merit inclusion. This is clearly an national/international/state issue....it is not a hyperlocal issue. Now, I am fine if all issues can be discussed on the Patch -- however, the inconsistency smacks of bias or as I often refer this sort of double standard -- the Democrat plan in action.
Derrick Williams (Editor) June 11, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Al, to offer another perspective, I thought I'd jump in and give you a different view. I'm Patch's Lakeville editor, and when it comes to content, I chose to run things I deem to be hyperlocal AND I run things of a regional and state nature that I know will resonate with my community. I've been a part of this town for nearly seven years and I know that there are some regional issues—from the Vikings Stadium to this amendment—that will be of interest to the folks here. So when you say that all issues aren't being discussed, I'd disagree and point to each Patch's coverage of everything from this amendment, to the new stadium, to right to work, to the Voter ID amendment, plus all the hyper-local items in between from sports to business. As for the nature of the coverage: like all things, I think perspective is a matter of whose ox is being gored and where folks stand on an issue. Down here in Dakota County I cover Congressman John Kline as a matter of routine. I suppose Democrats in this neck of the woods could wonder why I haven't given Mike Obermueller, who is running against him, a whole lot of attention beyond his winning the convention. On the other hand, if John Kline was a major player in a presidential election, I know my community, and those folks in Eagan, Apple Valley and other towns he represents, would have a keen interest in what happened with him and his candidacy, whether that be good or bad, flub or not. That's just my two cents. Thanks for reading.
Al Anderson June 12, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Derrick Thanks for your note. Again, as I stated before - I think respectful discourse covering ANY topic is fair game. I realize that the Patch can run or feature whatever it likes - after all, it is a business and ANY business should be able to run its' business as it chooses too. What I object to is the claim coming from my local patch is the double standard about objectivity. I get very concerned with the Patch featuring items from blogs or other media as "news" that isn't verified. I get very concerned about the Patch picking and choosing what hot topics to include and which ones aren't and still attempt to claim "almighty" objectivity. I'm not saying the VIkings Stadium or the Marriage amendment aren't hot topics - but in case you or other Patch editors are too busy with other things, there was a bloodless revolution within the Minnesota GOP this past year. That is translating to candidates across the state being endorsed and supported by the "liberty movement". Funny, but Ive yet to see a Patch feature that addresses that trend. I've yet to see the Patch dig in deep and review local/county/school district budgeting/spending. I've yet to see the same sort of scrutiny on Democrat politicians as I repeatedly see for Republican politicians. Again, The Patch can feature what they like - its their business. But that does not give the Patch the right to claim the status of objective journalism. It isn't.
Kevin Parks June 12, 2012 at 07:23 AM
I am curious, when has ANY journalism ever been completely objective? No matter how good the writer may or may not be, it is not possible to keep their "views" onjective. As a matter of fact, the first newspapers were printed with a CLEAR objective in mind. That was to cast the people who paid them in a good light. And it is a business. I think the Patch does a pretty good job at it. Not to mention, they allow the opinions of the people to be heard. More than say a local newspaper or broadcast. Also, AL as a complete side note... Well thought out comments, whether I agree or not. Also, well written.
Brie Shultz June 12, 2012 at 01:41 PM
In other words, "Patch should be covering what I personally consider 'hot topics' and when I don't agree with what the article says I get very concerned (concerned that my own viewpoint may not be based in facts (typical if I'm a big Fox News viewer) or concerned that others have a different viewpoint from mine....I'm guessing it's one of the two.)" :o)
Dave Nehring June 12, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I had to weigh in on this after reading so much from both sides of the argument. I have 2 points I really want to make here. First, as it has been stated and as many will agree, homosexuality is not a choice. That being a fact, if you have children, and they turn out to be homosexual, do you suddenly not love them anymore because they don't fit in your definition of morality and decency? They are still your children and deserve your love no matter what, and I am pretty sure we don't need a book or instructions from thousands of years ago to show us that. Second, why is this viewed as decay and filth instead of growth as a species or society? We are growing in our capacity to accept reality and that is essential to our survival. If we feared fire as much as gay marriage because we didn't understand it or agree with it, or because we had been burned by it, then we would be stuck in caves from when the sun went down until the sun came up, and I am sure there are many other advancements that would have never happened due to that willful ignorance. People are people, and we all need to learn to accept each other for who we are and respect the fact that our country is a place where you are free to have those differences. If you don't like it, go somewhere that they enforce whatever you are looking for, we are enjoying our freedom here.
rob_h78 June 12, 2012 at 05:11 PM
You can bet that freeing slaves, giving women the vote, giving black people the vote, letting black people ride in the front of the bus, not making 7 year old children work in dangerous factories, allowing mixed race marriage, etc... were all considered by many to be the decay of society, crazy "liberalism" run amok, etc... For people who decry change they always will say "But this time its different" and they will state many reasons why but when you look back through human history every time there is change people who fight change will say "But this time its different" and will cite many reasons why... Nothing changes, the fight is always the same, its just different issues that are fought over, but as with issues in the past, eventually gay marriage will happen, people will look around and realize that in fact the country continues on, their lives are not impacted at all, and then a few years later only the most bitter of people who lack enough of life to move on will still be fighting and complaining - and yet the vast majority of people will be asking "Now what was the big deal about that issue again?" and the younger generations will look back and shake their ends in wonder at how people could act so horribly towards another group of people.
James Warden (Editor) June 12, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Since we've had several questions in this post and others about what speech should be allowed, I wanted to let y'all know that we posted a new article specifically addressing that question. http://hopkins.patch.com/articles/how-would-you-keep-conversation-civil-without-cutting-off-debate We want to know what you think. When does speech cross over from an attack on an issue to an attack on a group of people? How would you balance the need for civil dialog with vigorous debate on key issues? How would you allow diverse opinions and still keep the conversation polite? What speech, if any, should be off limits? Check out the article and let us know what you think.
ABSG June 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I am all for Freedom of Speech and Non-Censorship. It's not a debate, news story, opinion, a comment or fact if you are restricitng people on what they can or can not say. In reality there are just way to many weak people in this world and we allow people to be weak by protecting them. Censoring "swearing or cursing" for example, are modes of speech existing in all human languages. They are simply descriptive words to express an emotion, feeling, thought, etc ... I am not "offended" by swearing in a conversation and hate it when an entire comment is censored because of one descriptive word. Free Speech = Honest Debate
Debbie Parrish July 24, 2012 at 07:43 PM
While I agree that the government should not have the right to deny ANYBODY from marrying who they love and want a commitment with....I believe this should be extended to include ALL groups....regardless of race, creed, religious beliefs, gender AND relationship by blood. I think that ideally what hurts nobody else personally is nobody else's business!
Tom Kent September 09, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Veda that presentation is very one-sided and misleading. Google lists over a dozen critiques of it which make good reading, eg http://stasisonline.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/homosexual-marriage/

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