In addition to Minnesota, you’ve heard me talk about Maine, Maryland and Washington throughout the past year. Well, I’m happy to officially report that Washington State has finally been called: Washingtonians have stood for equality and voted in favor of same-sex marriage!
That means that each of the four states that voted on marriage equality on Tuesday took a stand on the right side of history!
Here’s a great graphic from TheFour.com that currently graces my Facebook Profile!
Congratulations to all of my friends in Maine, Maryland, Washington and of course, Minnesota.
It’s been three-and-a-half years since Iowa legalized same-sex marriage. MPR recently ran a long piece on what has changed since that historic Iowa Supreme Court vote.
First, no lawsuits:
When the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, it was out of step with public opinion on the matter. But polls show acceptance among Iowans has grown since the ruling. There have been no lawsuits.
Second, no children are being “forced to learn about the ‘gay lifestyle.’” Instead, legalization of same-sex marriage may actually increase the quality of teachers attracted to Iowa:
Decorah School Superintendent Mike Haluska says legalization of same-sex marriage has not changed what’s taught in schools.
“As far as our curriculum is concerned, it hasn’t changed in regard to that,” Haluska said. “Conversation maybe in government class has changed just because it’s now the law, but curriculum, no.”
Haluska believes he has been able to attract top teachers because Decorah is seen as a welcoming community.
Amalia Vagts works for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and had this to say about the difference same-sex marriage has made in Iowa:
The reality is it hasn’t made a difference in most people’s lives… and it’s made a very positive, wonderful difference in some people’s lives.
And that’s just what would happen here in Minnesota. If we defeat this mean-spirited marriage amendment, for the majority of Minnesotans, there would be no impact. However, defeating this amendment would send a very clear message to committed same-sex couples: The citizens of Minnesota stand with you and support equality for all. Don’t let amendment supporters confuse the issue with their misleading advertisements and downright lies. Just take a look at what’s happening (or not happening) just south of our Minnesota border…
As many of my blog followers know, Minnesota is one of four states facing a vote on same-sex marriage this NOvember.
In Washington state, they are voting to uphold a law that was passed earlier this year legalizing gay marriage. Similar to Minnesota, same-sex opponents have started to run commercials and they’re using similar scare tactics to what we’re seeing here.
The Seattle PI dug into the claims and found out that, like here in Minnesota, opponents are intentionally misleading voters.
In one of the anti-same sex marriage commercials running in Washington state, a narrator shares:
“Religious groups such as Catholic Charities, in Boston and Washington, D.C., have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission — based on their religious beliefs — or accepting this new definition of marriage. As a result, they had to close their adoption program.”
However, that’s not really the truth. In fact, the chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston, Peter Mead, has this to say:
“Opponents of the freedom to marry ignore the truth and distort history when they talk about Catholic Charities of Boston and its decision to shut down its adoption services. I’m shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are making the false claim that Catholic Charities’ decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.”
As the Boston Globe has documented, Catholic Charities placed 13 children with gay couples BEFORE the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The children were largely from difficult backgrounds and among those “harder to place,” in Meade’s words.
Stopping the adoptions didn’t come about because of the fact that same-sex marriage was legal:
The orders came from above — and from across the Atlantic. ”In 2005, tragically and out of the blue, the Vatican ordered our diocese to cease using the single criteria of ‘best interest of the children,’” writes Meade. ”They ordered us to stop facilitating adoptions to qualified gay and lesbian households. “I objected strenuously for two reasons. First and foremost, the Church hierarchy was telling us to violate the best interests of the children who were in our care. It was an arbitrary edict that, to many of us, had nothing to do with what was best for these kids and undermined our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.”
Meade goes on to talk about how the 42 directors of the Catholic Charties of Boston voted unanimously not to exclude gay and lesbian couples as they believed the Vatican edict was wrong.
“When the hierarchy insisted, the organization had no choice but to end Catholic Charities’ adoption services. To me, and seven other board members, that forced our hand. We could no longer serve on the board so we resigned.”
Meade concludes with:
“As a Catholic, my faith continues to call me to treat every person as a child of God. What happened in Massachusetts should not have happened. “But what’s made it even worse is twisting a tough and sad outcome of one Catholic Charities into a fear-baiting talking point by opponents of the freedom to marry. It’s not truthful and it only takes us further from loving our neighbor as God commands.
It is clear that certain organizations will do whatever it takes to ensure that same-sex couples cannot celebrate the love they have for one another. Hopefully, posts like this help provide additional education for those that may not be fully aware.
Note: Excerpts above from SeattlePI.com. Read the article in it’s entirety here.
For those that say the amendment facing Minnesotans is about “protecting” marriage or kids, take two minutes to read this story from Alabama. It’s a heartbreaking reminder of why we’re fighting hard in Minnesota to defeat this mean-spirited amendment.
Cari Searcy and Kimberly McKeand have been together for 14 years. They decided to start a family many years ago and went the route of artificial insemination. Now that their son is 6 years old, and in the first grade, an Alabama appeals court says to Searcy: You cannot adopt this child because Alabama passed a constitution amendment defining marriage.
A supporter of Alabama’s law banning same-sex marriage, Republican state Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa, said he believes this is the first time a court has upheld a 2006 constitutional amendment that declared marriage was between a man and a woman.
“This ruling solidifies the fact the institution of marriage includes a man and a woman raising the children,” Allen said.
People like Allen are so adamant in their beliefs that they would rather deny a 6-year old the opportunity to have two loving parents than acknowledge that our society is changing.
Please understand that this amendment in Minnesota does harm to real Minnesotans. If we vote NO and defeat it, nothing changes for those people like Allen: Marriage is already defined as one man and one woman in the state of Minnesota. But if it passes, life will change for committed same-sex couples. The above is just one example of how an amendment like this can be used against a portion of our society.
We’re better than that.
Interesting opinion piece from the Star Tribune that highlights positive health impacts of married couples. Dr. Edward P. Ehlinger, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, shares that:
Married men and women have lower rates of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, smoking, substance abuse and cancer. After controlling for other factors, married couples have higher levels of cognitive functioning, happiness and life satisfaction. All the health benefits of marriage are consistent across age, race and education groups.
The author goes on to highlight that both the American Medical Association and the Minnesota Medical Association Board of Trustees have taken the position that they will work to reduce discrepancies for same-sex couples:
In its policy titled “Health Care Disparities in Same-Sex Partners,” the American Medical Association states that “… exclusion from civil marriage contributes to health care disparities affecting same-sex households” and that the AMA “will work to reduce health care disparities among members of same-sex households including minor children; and will support measures providing same-sex households with the same rights and privileges to health care, health insurance, and survivor benefits, as afforded opposite-sex households.” The Minnesota Medical Association Board of Trustees has adopted a similarly worded position.
The letter also highlights the fact that marriage amendments lead to an increase in bullying and greater intolerance. As a result, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has declared its opposition to the marriage amendment.
Overall, the message is clear: the marriage amendment on ballots this fall accomplishes nothing positive. Marriage doesn’t need “protection” from committed same-sex couples. Rather, marriage should celebrate their commitment to one another. The studies referenced in this letter show that we all benefit.
I think that the best day will be when we no longer talk about being gay or straight – it’s not a ‘gay wedding’ it’s just a ‘wedding’, it’s not a ‘gay marriage’ it’s just ‘a marriage’.
Pink, Pop Star, September 19, 2012
Source: Pink News
Pink shares her views on same-sex marriage in an interview on GaydarRadio’s breakfast show.
You know, I just think there are also consequences if this bill is passed— I’m sorry, there could be some consequences if the bill does not pass, the amendment does not pass— if it were to fail there could be some consequences. My concerns are that our children in our schools could be taught some liberal agendas because of the marriage amendment. Because in the schools they may be taught… ah… that, this is normal behavior. I personally do not believe it is. But I also believe in the choice and I firmly support marriage between one man and one woman.
Representative Mary Franson, Alexandria, September 20, 2012
Source: City Pages
Sad to see that some of our very own elected officials in Minnesota still believe that being gay is not normal and that recognizing the love between two people (who happen to be of the same gender) could lead to “consequences.”
Hmmm. I wonder if Mary Franson includes paying taxes, voting, raising families and other seemingly “normal” behaviors in her list of consequences?
In March of this year, I shared how the National Organization for Marriage had been promoting “ex-gay therapy” as a way to help change people from being gay. NOM, the primary funding arm behind Minnesota for Marriage, shows what these groups are really after through their advocacy of such practices. Make no mistake, these amendment supporters may hide behind the “protecting traditional marriage” argument, however, advocacy of reparative therapy practices shows their true colors.
With that said, I’m happy to say that this weekend, California has officially become the first state in the country to ban these reparative therapy practices for minors:
This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.
Governor Jerry Brown, California
I hope that other states will follow California’s lead. Let’s stop telling our youth that they need to be repaired for who they are. I said it back in March and I’ll say it again: NOM, your advocacy of these practices is shameful. The damage this organization does to society is far greater than any of the supposed consequences allowing gay marriage would have.
Over nine months have gone by since I began this blog. I set out to help educate Minnesotans about the marriage amendment and the far-reaching affects it would have on committed same-sex couples in Minnesota. Through the process, I’ve had the chance to talk with dozens of Minnesotans and I’ve been able to connect people to resources. In a small way, I hope that I’ve been able to influence what some may think about same-sex commitment and the rights that those couples deserve.
It may sound weird to say this, but seeing the sample ballot today suddenly makes all of this very real. In fact, it saddens me to see this ballot in front of me in black-and-white. I mean, logically, I know that November will come. However, up until this point, we’ve been preparing for a battle that secretly, I was hoping we wouldn’t have to fight. But here it is. Right here for everyone to see.
Sure enough, we’re voting on my rights. My ability to celebrate love. My ability to share in the same benefits granted to my peers. Me.
If you can’t say NO because your conscience doesn’t allow or because you’re worried what your spiritual leaders may think, simply leave the question blank. Because, if you fill that oval in next to yes when you go to vote, you are truly saying, “Mark, you are less than other Minnesotans” – and I know in my heart, that’s not the Minnesota I love.
Please vote NO.
NBCNews.com posted an exclusive interview with Minnesota Vikings punter, Chris Kluwe. The interview is in response to his letter that I’ve been talking about for the past day. Check out the clip on NBCNews.com.
In the interview, Kluwe also gets the chance to talk about the Minnesota marriage amendment:
It’s making a permanent change to the state constitution. It’s basically taking away people’s rights… when we look back 20-25 years from now, and you look at history, which side were you on. Were you on the side that supported [voting no] or did you try and take peoples’ rights away.
See the full back story: Chris Kluwe becomes my hometown hero.
GREAT article from MPR calling out Minnesota for Marriage on intentionally misleading voters. Minnesota for Marriage makes the following claim in a video on their web site:
When same sex marriage was imposed by the courts in Massachusetts, for example, second-graders were taught in public schools that boys could marry other boys.
MPR highlights the following facts:
- The amendment fight in Minnesota is not imposing same-sex marriage in Minnesota. The amendment fight in Minnesota is about updating the constitution to define something that is already law in Minnesota (marriage is between opposite sex couples)
- Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004 and didn’t change rules about what is taught in schools
- Since 1993, Massachusetts law has required curriculum to “foster respect for gender, cultural, and racial diversity.” The education department does not dictate specific lessons or books, nor do they mandate same-sex or opposite-sex marriage education
- The book in question was about ethnic diversity, racial diversity and included a same-sex couple
- Groups making these claims cannot say how many schools (or what schools) in Massachusetts are teaching same-sex marriage
Amendment proponents have made similar claims in other states and we can expect to see more of it here in Minnesota. When they do, let’s make sure that voters in Minnesota know that there’s deception afoot!
While it falls just short of marriage, the Episcopal church has voted to approve “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” for committed same-sex couples. The ceremony includes prayers and the exchange of vows and rings for the couple.
USA Today provides some additional background on the Episcopal church and their long-time support of gay rights. In 2003, Gene Robinson was elected as the first openly gay bishop for the church in the world. This decision caused disagreements by some in the church and caused a split between congregations.
To address concerns from those members who may not yet be supportive of same-sex couples, the resolution includes a “conscience clause”:
Under the new policy, each Episcopal bishop will decide whether to allow the ceremonies in his or her local diocese. A provision dubbed a conscience clause bars any penalties for Episcopalians who oppose its use.
Regardless of your beliefs, this is a step in the right direction. With many religious groups still persecuting same-sex couples, it’s great to see the Episcopal church recognizing the fact that love is love and celebrating that fact across the church.
People are getting comfortable with [gay marriage in Iowa] and that’s a shame to tell you the truth.
Susan Geddes, Iowa Republican
Source: ABC News
Geddes worked as an organizer for Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. Her statement is proof that the fight we’re having in Minnesota is unnecessary and based out of fear and/or hate. By allowing same-sex couples to marry in Iowa, “traditional” marriages have not stopped. In fact, over 4,500 same-sex couples have wed since 2009 when gay marriage became legal in the state and now nearly 60 percent of Iowans oppose an amendment that would ban gay marriage.
Why? Because recognizing the love of a committed same-sex couple is a wonderful thing that really doesn’t have any impact on other people. In fact, according to Geddes, folks even get comfortable with the idea. At the end of the day, love has won out in Iowa and support to take that love and recognition away continues to decline – and it upsets folks like Geddes who would prefer the rights of same-sex couples were limited.
I’ve blogged a couple times about Reverend Oliver White via this page (1, 2). You may remember that he is the reverend that supported gay marriage and lost many followers from his congregation. Rev. White had until June 30 to raise enough funds to pay the mortgage on his church or face losing it.
Well, I’m sad to report that as of today, the church is closing its doors for good. According to Fox News, the church was only able to raise about $55,000, less than half of what was required by the June 30 deadline (click here for the video).
After 22 years of serving the Grace United Community Church of Christ in St. Paul, Reverend White says goodbye. The man’s character shines through (and may bring a tear) when he concludes:
When you stand up for what is right, no matter what it costs, in the end, you get the greatest gift.