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Discriminating or differentiating?

June 6, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

This is in response to Wendy Ringhofer's June 1 letter "About marriage amendment." I don't believe that anyone would deny that the term marriage has for centuries meant the union between a man and a woman. The argument that by continuing to define marriage in that way we are discriminating is in a way true. Another word for discrimination in the dictionary is "differentiation" or "distinguishing." We are saying that there is a difference between the marriage relationship of a man and a woman and the relationship between two people of the same sex. It is necessary to make judgments based on differences that exist in these two types of relationships.

As a society we are called on to make judgments which suit particular situations. Disabled people are allowed special parking spots and other privileges not given to those without disabilities; there are child labor laws which distinguish the rights of children from those of adults; churches receive a tax-exempt status not given to non-religious organizations; and heterosexual married couples have until now been recognized as being different than homosexual couples living together, so they have different rights.

Ms. Ringhofer says that by saying "yes" to the amendment you are singling out homosexual couples to be treated differently. I would agree that by voting "yes" to the amendment you are indeed acknowledging that there has been and always will be a difference between heterosexual relationships and homosexual ones.

Ms. Ringhofer asks, "Is the 'sex' part what defines your marriage?" I would answer, to a certain degree, yes. Sex certainly is not it's only defining characteristic, but it is an important part in combination with the mutual caring, love, and respect a couple shares. To leave it out would be to deny an essential part of the interaction of a caring husband and wife.

It is true that the purpose of the constitution is to protect the rights of all citizens. However, its purpose is not to eradicate all consideration of differences in the process of defining and protecting those rights. That is where informed judgment has a place. What informs your judgment? Vote YES if you agree that marriage is and always has been the unique union of one man and one woman. Vote YES if you want traditional marriage to be the foundation on which your children's future is built.

Mary Thom

New Ulm

 
 

 

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