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Marriage amendment simply stokes fear, anger

March 23, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

I am a product of New Ulm, though I have never lived there and only visited just over a handful of times. I grew up in a WELS church, and went to a WELS school for Pre-K through 12. Many of those who taught or ministered to me over the years took instruction at MLC. I am a product of New Ulm.

I grew up immersed in a denomination that taught homosexuality is a choice. Despite years of fear and shame and crying out to God, it turned out that the choice was far, far simpler. I couldn't change who I am, so I could accept that I'm gay and live a life of integrity and love, or reject it and continue in fear, shame, and the secret knowledge that no one could love me if they knew who I really am. I chose integrity and love.

The current ban on equal access to civil marriage licenses for gay or lesbian couples did not prevent me from coming out, would not have kept me from realizing who I am as a gay man, and will not prevent me from finding a husband some day. The proposed constitutional amendment to write that ban in permanent ink will also do none of these things.

Sponsors of the ban talk about the "redefinition" of marriage. They speak about raising children, as if I, by mere fact of being gay, am incapable of fatherhood. The implications of this amendment are that gay and lesbian couples are inferior to straight couples, that they're dangerous to children, that they're polluted and contaminated.

If you truly believe that, this amendment solves none of those fears, either. It just stokes up more fear and anger. Aren't we already fearful and angry enough? Ephesians says that we all (gays and straights alike) were once children of wrath. Lent is the season of giving up things. Let's give up our wrathful self-righteousness, our better-than-thou attitudes, and our propensity for public judgement of "sinners." Those things do not serve to paint our Savior and our creed with a positive image, and all they do is show the world that Christians aren't capable of maturely handling disagreement and diversity.

Voting yes doesn't make anyone a better Christian, it doesn't make marriage more Christian, and it doesn't make Minnesota better in any way. What it does do is make Christianity into a mockery of Christ. After all, whose rights would Jesus take away? Vote No on this amendment as children of hope in the promise of a better Minnesota. Vote No as an ambassador of Christlike peace and love to and for the world. Vote No as a Minnesotan who believes that pastors shouldn't be told which loving and committed marriages they can and cannot solemnize.

Johann Baumeister




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