…there’s a rally underway to celebrate what amounts to a victory for supporters of gay rights
That’s how Randy Meier introduces this 3-minute news story on the United for Our Future Rally that I had the opportunity to attend last night. It was fun to watch this video, as it brought me right back to the energy and emotion of Wednesday night.
Oh, and you get a quick glimpse of the back of my head… *grin* ;)
Baltimore Ravens, Matt Birk, has taken a stand in support of the mean-spirited marriage amendment here in Minnesota. For those that may not be aware, Birk grew up in St. Paul and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1998 NFL Draft (Source: wikipedia). He has written both a letter to the Star Tribune and has recorded a video in which he makes statements like these:
I can put up with a lot from the government, like higher taxes, and while I don’t like it, pushing God out of public schools, but letting a small number of business and government elites and judges define what marriage is for Minnesotans doesn’t seem very fair and doesn’t make a lot of sense.
He can “put up with… higher taxes,” but he doesn’t think two people who love each other and want to celebrate that love through commitment should be able to do so. And then he goes on to talk about fairness? Really?
But Minnesota, don’t worry. Our hometown hero is here to make things right. Not long after Birk initially wrote his letter to the Star Tribune in favor of the marriage amendment, Chris Kluwe penned one of his infamous letters. Here’s just a very small portion of what Kluwe had to say:
Your argument lacks facts, sources, or statistics. You can’t just say “Same -sex marriage is bad for kids because I think it’s bad for kids, and I think it’s bad for kids because it’s bad for kids”. That’s called circular reasoning and it’s a logical fallacy.
Your argument that “government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids” is flawed on two counts. The first flaw is one of simple mathematics – if “marriage” is so necessary to the proper raising of children, why are we not passing an amendment to outlaw divorce? Current statistics from the CDC put the national divorce rate at approximately 50% (of roughly 2.1 million marriages a year, 1 million will end in divorce). They also put the number of same-sex couple households at 685,000, and those with children at 160,000. Let’s say, purely for the sake of example, that every single one of those same-sex households got married. You’re telling me you’re more concerned with the impact of those 160,000 households, as opposed to the 1 million heterosexual couples getting divorces? If this is truly about the children, shouldn’t divorce be first up on the constitutional amendment list, in order to save more children?
You’ll have to read Chris’ letter in it’s entirety to appreciate its true beauty. In it, he refutes everything that Birk has to say and concludes with:
I encourage you to keep speaking out, as we should never be afraid to espouse our views, but from a rational standpoint I simply cannot agree with discrimination against a subset of our citizenry.
While I probably won’t be visiting Peapods in St. Paul anytime soon (no need for baby supplies for this blogger!), I want to make sure I recognize the owners for taking a stand against the mean-spirited amendment.
Owners Dan Marshall and wife Millie Adelsheim have a “Vote NO” sign in their window that faces Como Avenue and sell rainbow flags in the store.
When asked, Dan had this to say about supporting equality in Minnesota:
[Opposing the marriage amendment] speaks so clearly to the values we’ve chosen as a store. We want to treat all families equally and be a friendly, embracing store.
When other local businesses have come out in support of equality, I’ve encouraged readers of this blog to do one of four simple things to express appreciation:
- Patronize the business online or in store. Let Dan and Millie know that you appreciate their support of equality for all Minnesotans
- Like the business on Facebook. As of today, the business has nearly 2,500 likes. Let’s show them some more love!
- Send the owners a personal note of thanks.
- Reblog this post or share a link on Facebook to build awareness and support for this local business.
Together, let’s send a message to Minnesota-based businesses: Standing up for equality is indeed good for business!
Note: For those that may be in the market for baby supplies or alternative toys, here’s a little more about the business from their website:
Our store is an alternative toy and baby supply store. We offer a huge selection of great products. We offer baby slings, cloth diapers and wraps, wooden toys, puzzles, silk toys, toys made from recycled plastic, dress up wear, stuffed animals, finger puppets, dolls, dollhouses, toy trains, and a lot more really really neat stuff. Nearly everything is made of natural woods and fibers–no batteries or vinyl toys.
Today, the faculty at Hamline University voted to approve a resolution opposing the mean-spirited marriage amendment. 85 percent of eligible faculty supported the resolution while 10 percent voted against taking a public, anti-amendment stance.
According to KMSP-TV:
Having defined its stance, Hamline’s faculty is now calling on university president Linda Hanson to publicly oppose the marriage amendment.
Text of the resolution:
WHEREAS Hamline University is a learning community that values diversity and inclusiveness; and
WHEREAS Hamline University recognizes and embraces the values of the United Methodist Church; and
WHEREAS the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church has publicly opposed the Minnesota “marriage amendment; and
WHEREAS the Minnesota “marriage amendment” would deny civil rights to members of our community:
Be it resolved that we, the faculty of Hamline University, oppose the “marriage amendment” that seeks to enshrine discrimination in the constitution of the state of Minnesota, and
Be it resolved that we, the faculty of Hamline University, call upon President Linda Hanson, as Hamline’s representative, to affirm Hamline University’s values and its belief in liberal education by publicly opposing the “marriage amendment.”
With 41 days until election day, I hope to post news like this EVERY day from here on out!
Add another organization to the amendment opposition list that Minnesotans United for All Families is building across the state. Last week, the Hmong American Partnership in St. Paul announced that it opposes the marriage amendment on ballots this fall. According to MPR, the Hmong American Partnership is the largest non-profit serving the Hmong community.
President and CEO Bao Vang said the Hmong American Partnership is an inclusive organization that could not ignore an amendment that it believes would limit rights for gay and lesbian members of its community.
“We do not believe in the discrimination of any groups, and Hmong being the minority community, we know how that feels,” Vang said.
While this is good news, unfortunately, amendment supporters are already working with both the Hmong American Alliance Church and the Hmong Village Shopping Center to help build support in the Hmong community.
Susan Kimberly, the former interim president of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, starts off her letter to the editor with a quote from Dick Cheney, “Freedom means freedom for everyone.”
Kimberly goes on to talk about how, as a Republican, opposing this amendment actually aligns with her party’s values. “We believe this amendment represents excessive government intrusion into the personal lives of Minnesotans and defies our belief in limited government.” She applauds General Mills and other Minnesota companies that have come out against the amendment.
Another example of individuals taking action and speaking out against this mean-spirited amendment. How about you? Have you thought about writing a letter to the editor of your local paper? If you do, please drop me a note and share it with me. I’d be happy to post some of the letters I receive!
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.
In early March, I blogged about how Reverend Oliver White is facing an uphill battle to keep his church open after taking a supportive stand on same-sex marriage. Three months later and White is about to lose the church because the funds coming in aren’t enough to cover the cost of a loan that is due June 30.
Now, White has taken to the internet asking supporters to donate to the cause. According to the article, the efforts to date have raised about 10% of the needed funds. Here’s hoping that added publicity helps Grace Community United Church of Christ make significant progress toward their goal.
Check out this bittersweet article about Grace Community United Church in Saint Paul. In 2005, when Reverend Oliver White voted in favor of the UCC’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, he lost parishioners. After the vote, over 70 percent have not returned over time. That’s the bitter part.
This has created financial hardship for the small church and in February, White sent out 40 letters to congregations across the country. This is where the sweet part comes in. The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas raised $15,000 on behalf of Grace Community and presented the check on February 26.
While this money will help the church survive until at least this coming summer, the future is still unknown. Unfortunately, the cost of supporting gay marriage is still high within many religious circles.
As Dolly Parton once said, “If you want a rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Well, Grace Community, it’s time for your rainbow. Keep the faith and thank you for your continued support.