I was optimistic that Minnesota would turn down the marriage amendment on Tuesday. Not just because of the politics and the demographics and the numbers, but also because I know Minnesota. We’re not the most glamorous state in the country and we don’t always get everything right, but we’re a state that looks inwards. We care about how things affect our neighbors, and we take the extra time to think about it.
The truth is, limiting marriage to just straight people hurts a lot of our neighbors, our teachers, our co-workers, our friends, ourselves. It draws a line in the sand, saying that a whole group of already oppressed people don’t deserve equal rights. And deep down, it’s just mean.
Talking about gay rights can be difficult – that’s why we created rings that were symbolic of support, so that conversations could come up easier and more and more people could see that they weren’t alone in advocating gay marriage.
Together, with many like-minded organizations, Minnesotans brought the amendment down. We’re thankful to everyone that worked with us on this. It was a statewide effort to move forward and become a more tolerant community.
Now, let’s help make sure this never happens again. Civil rights should never be put to a vote. One purpose of having 3 branches of government, rather than just a popular vote, is to make sure that the rights of minorities never get trampled upon. Ideally, minority rights would be considered by legislature rather than left to the masses. In a popular vote, minorities are greatly outnumbered by people who don’t understand their plight or experiences. It’s just math.
Let’s raise awareness about just how un-American it is to let people vote on the rights of any kind of minority. If gay marriage becomes legal through a referendum, it will be because the cause of this group has received sympathy from the majority of the population, which is straight. But minorities shouldn’t have to plea their case to all of their non-minority friends every time they want the rights they deserve.
So states, quit putting gay rights up for the popular vote, and let our elected officials approach them with justice. Our voices have spoken as Minnesotans – we don’t want to limit marriage to straight couples. Now let’s make gay marriage legal.