Minnesota Marriage Amendment: Stay Put or Take a Step Back

Paul Whyte

Having The Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment, Amendment 1, on the ballot has been the topic of much debate with this coming election coming up on November 6. It should be noted that this amendment will not legalize marriage between same-sex couples but will rather decide if a revision to laws in the future may be a possibility. Basically nothing will change from the way things are now if the amendment fails. Minnesotans will vote if the “recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman.”

We checked out the most prominent website that we could find that is for the amendment, www.minnesotaformarriage.com. The site supports the definition of marriage to be between a man and woman and there seemed to be some rather exaggerated and not surprisingly, rather biased, information on it. Their stance promotes a closed biblically driven view over the reality that there have been, are and always will be people of the same sex who can have a healthy relationship that won’t undermine society.

One of the sites “facts” states, “professionals who contentiously object to same-sex marriage will face a range of potential consequences including lawsuits and license revocation, leading to the loss of their livelihood.” It can be assumed that it’s not the fact that they are denying services to a same-sex couple, it’s because they are denying services to two people who are gay. According to the Minnesota Department of  Human Rights, Minnesota Statute Chapter 363A.17(3) states, “It is an unfair discriminatory practice for a person engaged in a trade or business or in the provision of a service to intentionally refuse to do business with, to refuse to contract with, or to discriminate in the basic terms, conditions, or performance of the contract because of a person’s race, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, or disability, unless the alleged refusal or discrimination is because of a legitimate business purpose.” Since there are already laws that address this and the amendment does not entail anything about people losing their livelihoods within it, this argument seems invalid. They make the same argument twice and additionally state on the site that, “any business such as wedding photographers, florists, bakeries, banquet halls, or bed and breakfasts, can be sued under public accommodations laws for refusing to offer their services in connection with a same-sex marriage ceremony. Small businesses can have governmental licenses revoked or denied, such as child care licensure, foster care licenses, food care licenses or liquor licenses on the grounds of unlawful discrimination.” Since this amendment doesn’t grant same-sex marriage, these businesses who deny services should have little to worry about other than than the previously mentioned law.

In response to the “myth” that “churches are really motivated by hatred for gays and lesbians,” the website asserts that, “this campaign is about love for the institution of marriage. Whether you believe that marriage was created by God or by man, it was created long before the institution of government was created and it has served humanity since the dawn of time.”  If marriage was set in place by God then a woman should be her husband’s property, a man can have concubines, polygamy should be alright, a man will inherit his brother’s wife if the brother dies, a rape victim will have to marry her attacker and soldiers can marry prisoners of war. Jesus never specifically condemns homosexuality but rather taught people to love and be accepting of one another (except when it comes to merchants selling sacrifices in the temple, that makes Jesus mad.) Does it seem Christ like to deny someone services because of the sole reason they are gay? The definition of “bigot” according to Webster’s dictionary, “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” Claiming that someone who denies someone their services because they have that big of a chip on shoulder because of someone else’s sexual preference and then saying there isn’t some amount of hate seems improbable. This isn’t meant to say across the board that all religious or church going people are bigoted, but religious based intolerance has seldom created any good in society. It is possible to not vote at all on this amendment.

If marriage was set in place by man a long time ago then other things such as slavery, human sacrifice, female genital mutilation and other man made rituals should be all be regarded as just the way things are and never changed. If someone shows up with a couple of donkeys and likes your daughter, this should be a legitimate marriage arrangement. Any advancement in civil rights should halt immediately.  

The site claims that “,fidelity and monogamy are fundamentally lacking in many gay relationships. A recent study by gay researchers at San Francisco State University found that only 45 percent of gay male relationships are based on an expectation of monogamy. Other studies have put the percentage of gays and lesbians in open relationships as high as 75 percent.” It seems that this may be the most biased study they could find for their argument if it is accurate. According to www.divorcerate.org, “the divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%, the divorce rate for a second marriage is 60%, and the divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%.” When looking at the percentages of a marriage between a man and woman, things don’t look so promising on that end either.

Another interesting “fact” on the site is that, “of course, no one is telling anyone who they can love. Every person ‚Äì gay or straight ‚Äì is entitled to live as they choose, but no person is entitled to redefine marriage for all of society.” Well for people who are straight, they are in luck. They can go right ahead and continue on with their wonderful or horrible marriage and the fact that two people of the same sex are getting married has absolutely nothing to do with their straight relationship. If this amendment fails, same-sex marriage is still not allowed in Minnesota. If same-sex marriage is ever allowed, it does not redefine it for “all of society,” it redefines it for those who are gay.

In the end voting “No” on this amendment shows that a human being; whether it’s a coworker, family member or friend who is exactly like yourself except for their sexual preference is equal to you. All it is is acknowledging that one day they may enjoy the freedom of a legal marriage, because at the moment they do not have that freedom and in the eyes of the law are not equal. If you’re reading this and are gay, then it’s pretty likely you’ve already made your mind up a long time ago on this amendment.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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