To the Editor:
A recent letter by Mr. Edwin Bonnarens urged readers to vote yes on the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment. On one point we agree: We cannot remain neutral on this issue.
It bears mentioning that a 1971 law (Baker v. Nelson) already bans same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
It also bears mentioning that the last time Minnesotans voted against a group of people was in 1896, when voters approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting non-citizens from voting. This effectively overturned the Organic Act of 1849, which allowed "every free white male inhabitant above the age of 21 years" to vote.
This is an issue over which there are many opinions and passionate feelings, on both sides, and there's much at stake for many people. There's a lot we need to talk about and sort through, but to do so with a constitutional amendment is to effectively shut the conversation down.
That's not how we do things as Minnesotans. To tell someone they must be a citizen of this state to vote is understandable. To tell someone they cannot marry the person they love by virtue of the arbitrary chromosomal circumstances of their birth is another entirely.
As a "chromosexual person," I and any other LGBT Minnesotan will tell you that sexual orientation is not a choice. I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home and home-schooled for the first 16 years of my life. I didn't even know what "gay" meant when I realized I was same-sex attracted.
Mr. Bonnarens likely believes that I chose to be this way, but I'd ask him: At what point was I presented with that choice? And by whom? My conservative church community? My even more conservative parents?
There is no "gay agenda" with opposition to this amendment, or to equal rights for LGBT citizens of this country. We don't want to subvert "traditional" marriage. We have no nefarious designs on children in public schools. We don't want to force clergy and churches to marry us. Rather, we desire to be treated fairly, and to share in what former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote about in 1967: "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.
My relationship with my boyfriend is not based on mere sex or lust. It is based on love, honesty and commitment, qualities that have defined every marriage I've ever known. If we're good enough to share our talents and abilities with the people of this state, why aren't we good enough to be married in it?
For readers with deep religious convictions, consider the words of Christ: "Do to others as you would have them do to you." As you go to the polls in November, please consider that. And if you do know someone in the LGBT community, try to see this issue through their eyes. Vote how you would be voted for. Please vote no.
David Philip Norris