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Letter: Vote no to limit the freedom to marry

I will be voting no on the marriage amendment for several important reasons. First, marriage is about love, commitment and responsibility - it is about the lifelong promises that we make as individuals to each other as we are married. Same-sex couples want to get married for the same reasons as anyone else. How can the state write into its constitution that for some couples their love relationship is acceptable, and given certain privileges, while it says to others who are in equally loving, committed relationships that their kind of love is not approved by the state, and therefore their family is denied certain rights and privileges?

Second, it is a matter of human rights. By not having the government recognize their relationship as a "marriage," same-sex couples and their children are denied basic rights and protections which others who can marry take for granted, such as visitation in the hospital, tax implications, and rights at the time of death. Children in such families are told by society that their family is not recognized legally, even though they have two loving parents in their home.

Third, this amendment mixes religion and politics in our constitution. A mandate on the definition of marriage as "one man, one woman" interferes with religious freedoms, and writes into the constitution a particular faith-based definition that is not shared by all, including many who are of the Christian faith. Five of the six Minnesota synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Minnesota Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ, and the Minnesota Rabbinical Association all oppose the amendment. Religious groups need to be able to continue their discussion about the religious implications of "marriage" separate from the legal aspects. This will work toward the strengthening of the family as the center for truthful, loving relationships.

Please vote no to limiting the freedom to marry in the constitution.

Duane Gebhard