On November 6, 2012, anyone voting in Minnesota will be able to choose if they want to vote yes or no on a new marriage amendment. A "yes" vote means you are voting to constitutionally exclude same-sex marriage. A "no" vote doesn't mean you are voting to make same-sex marriage legal, it simply means you are voting no against a constitutional amendment that is, in itself, discriminatory. It's a vote to make something illegal, or not illegal, but NOT legal. The Minnesota legislative body is basically asking a loaded question.
When it comes to political issues, of any magnitude, most people's decisions are clouded by biased beliefs. Most of us don't realize how biased our viewpoints can get at times, and that's seen more in political arguments than anything else. The easiest way to get passed these biases is to change your viewpoint. Before you vote yes or no this November, ask yourself one question: If your son or daughter (present or in the future) was gay, and wanted to marry the person they loved, what would you tell them? If your voting yes this November, would you, honestly, disown your own child because of their sexual preference? I'll assume you wouldn't disown your child, because you have a heart.
If you can't imagine how you'd react to your children's questions, there's other ways around the biases. For instance, try imagining a world in which heterosexuals are the minority and homosexuals are the majority. If you were a heterosexual male, absolutely in love with the woman of your dreams, wouldn't it bother you if a bunch of people who have no business being in your personal life were able to decide you and this woman can't get married? And, without any real reason? I would venture to guess most people would be outraged.
Those who plan to vote yes often argue that allowing same-sex marriages isn't good for our children, because it's unfair for a child to have to grow up in a home without a mother or a father. Many people cling onto that argument when they claim they'll vote yes; the only problem is it's not based on factual evidence. Any Google search will reveal piles and piles of studies that prove a child growing up in a steady, two-parent home, regardless if it's two dads, two moms or one each, is a good thing for children. Here's a recent article on adoptions by The Atlantic, for example.
Another common argument is cited around religion; which makes me sad. Someone who truly believes in their religion and the real point of it would understand religion is important to help people become better people. Whether you become a more spiritual person, or you believe you need to do good on this planet to serve someone, or whatever, the point of religion, for everyone, at it's core should be to become a better person. And the sins that come from the homosexual acts in the Bible are sins because of the physical acts; just like pre-marital sex is a sin between two heterosexuals. Wouldn't allowing them to get married, therefore, eliminate the sin that the physical act creates before marriage?
America is a great country because our founders understood from day one that while religion has it's values, no doubt, it can have it's drawbacks as well. If you are using your religious beliefs to take away an opportunity from someone else, you're not using your time on this planet correctly. Once you understand that most wars are propagated by religious issues between factions, you'll see that as great as organized religion can be in the right hands, it can be equally as dangerous in the wrong hands. If you think it's a sin to marry someone of the same-sex, the solution is simple: don't do it.
If you're planning to vote yes, please, try to think of a legitimate reason to ban two people who are in love, who can already live together, get a civil union, and adopt a child together from getting married.
"Yeah, but if they can do all of that, why do they need to get married?" you might ask.
And again, I will direct you to look at a heterosexual marriage. Why do most heterosexual people choose to get married instead of simply going through with a civil union? Because it means something in our society. Obviously people get marriage benefits, tax exemptions and other things, but that's not the reason most people get married. In our society, marriage is the ultimate symbol of love.
It's like saying "I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I'm willing to bet half my shit that I'm right." To deny this gratifying moment from any two people seems ridiculously unfair, and I believe most people in their heart agree with this sentiment.
It's my belief that we should let people live their lives however they choose, as long as they aren't harming others. And by voting No this November, I will be putting my vote where my mouth is. If you want to vote yes, it's obviously your right, but before you do, find one good reason to do it. That's how I changed my mind. Instead of fearing what we don't understand, take a few minutes to learn that what someone does sexually in the privacy of their own home doesn't make them good or bad parents, and it certainly doesn't make them sinners damned for eternity.
From one Minnesotan to another, please, do the right thing. If you care about your neighbors and your families, vote No.