Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
This year, Minnesotans will vote on adding two amendments to the state's Constitution. The most emotionally charged one is the so-called "Marriage Amendment."
The text on the ballot reads simply: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota? Yes__ No __"
The amendment itself will neither promote nor prevent same-sex marriages. Passing the amendment simply adds a definition of "marriage" to the state Constitution. Not passing it has no effect.
A vote for the amendment is not an endorsement of any particular religion, a political party, or even good old-fashioned values. Similarly, a vote against the amendment should not mark one as either liberal or anti-religion.
For me, it comes down to simple common sense. Why would people so adamant about government staying out of their lives vote to invite government into a very personal area of their lives?
All agree that we want what is best for our children. But do we really want the government to decide that? One only has to look at China or Iran as examples of what state interference in family matters can do to the safety and well-being of individuals and families. One is a culture built on atheism, the other on fundamental religion. Would any of us rather be a citizen in China or Iran than the United States?
Taking the argument to the extreme (as those who argue for the amendment are prone to do), let's assume that having both a mother and a father is what is deemed by society to be best for a child. Single-parenthood, then, should be banned; pregnant, unmarried women should be forced to either marry or give the child to a married couple. And let's abolish divorce, too.
I believe that our government would better serve us all by working to alleviate the social conditions that doom so many children to unhappy and often unsafe childhoods. Churches and religious organizations can continue to support single parents and troubled families. Let the state government get back to the work we elected them to do, like returning "borrowed" money to our schools, keeping our roads and bridges safe, and improving business and employment environments for its citizens.