Vote ‘no’ on the marriage question

The proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution is not about how any religion defines marriage, but how the law does so. Confining the legal definition of marriage to one man and one woman, thereby excluding same-sex couples, legalizes discrimination and perpetuates inequality.

No law can require a religious institution to wed same-sex couples. But no religious belief should become a law denying them that right, especially in a country where religious freedom and the separation of church and state are founding tenets.

Amending the legal definition of marriage to exclude same-sex couples will have real consequences for real people.

It will prevent same-sex couples from visiting each other in the hospital or claiming their loved one’s remains, because there would be no legal recognition of their relationship.

In a legal sense, it will make vulnerable the children of same-sex couples.

In addition to creating a level of human value based on sexual orientation, it will create a hierarchy of value based on family structure. This will hurt anyone not in a traditional family headed by a married, heterosexual couple.

It will validate the actions of bullies in Anoka schools who drove four students to commit suicide in 2009 and 2010 rather than endure another day of torment about their sexual orientation.

Whether state or federal, constitutions and their amendments are meant to allow citizens to actualize innate human rights, not deny them the ability to do so.

Vote “NO” on the marriage amendment because the next amendment may discriminate against you.

Vote “NO,” and deny bigotry rather than legal rights.

Vote “NO” on the marriage amendment, not (necessarily) because you’re in favor of same-sex marriage, but because you are in favor of human equality in our state and in our nation. — Andrea M. Zander, Big Lake