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A reality check on Marriage Amendment votes

October 5, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

I've heard all the arguments for defining marriage as between one man and one woman - the sanctity of the institution, the slippery slope (brothers marrying sisters!) and so on - but I'd like to offer a quick reality check on what a "yes" vote will actually do and not do.

It will not stop people from being gay. Nope. There is no such thing as antifairy dust. There has been homosexuality among humans since Adam and Steve walked the Earth eons ago, and if you think it's a choice, then you have not been paying attention.

Voting yes will not stop gay couples from bearing or adopting children and raising them together. There are families near you doing just that right now, and, aside from some creative naming challenges, they're normal families with normal joys and normal struggles. There is precisely zero chance of changing this.

Voting yes will not improve your own marriage. If you and your spouse's happiness depends on who else is married to whom, you don't need to be in the voting booth. You need to be in counseling!

Finally, voting yes will not stop gay couples from getting married. Wait, what? How can that be? Well, I hate to be the one to tell you, but gay couples have been walking down the aisle, saying "I will," for years - right here in Minnesota.

Well, gosh, if a yes vote won't stop any of those things, what will it actually accomplish? From a practical standpoint, absolutely nothing: Gay marriage is already illegal in Minnesota.

So, why have we spent all the time and money to place the question on the ballot this November? Well, the stated reason is to protect marriage from the scary, deviant gays who will surely do something terrible to the institution by, well, honoring it. The real reason it's on the ballot is to create an issue that will excite and encourage social conservatives to vote this November. This is right out of the Karl Rove playbook: Make 'em scared, make 'em mad, make 'em vote.

So, let's summarize: If you vote yes on the marriage amendment, gays will still be here. They will still have relationships. They will still have ceremonies, pledging to love and honor one another, and will still adopt, bear and raise children together - as a family.

Here, then, is what a yes vote will do: It will make sure that these families can never share health insurance. Or have guaranteed hospital visitation rights. Or buy a family fishing license. Or a joint college savings account. The list goes on. Do you really care if a gay couple gets to file their taxes together or buys a family fishing license?

So, not only should you vote no on the amendment, you should begin to consider the family-friendly thing: giving same-sex couples the 515+ rights that they deserve. It's the right thing to do. It's the practical thing to do.

Karl Baier

New Ulm



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