Monday, August 27, 2012

Why I’m choosing to vote “No” on Minnesota’s Marriage Amendment this November

Disclaimer: I’m not writing this to open up discussion. In fact, unless you are still undecided on how you want to vote, and want to talk about that, please do not comment on this at all. I am not looking to start a debate, not looking to hear why I am wrong, or to hear “the devil’s advocate position”. I’ve been thinking about/struggling over this topic for years, and this is what I have come to for myself. So please, only continue reading if you are sincerely interested in hearing my thoughts, not to try to propose your own. I have disabled comments, and if email me your thoughts, I will delete them before reading them.

This Sunday, David and I went to the Minnesota State Fair. Upon entering the gates, I was stopped by someone with a clipboard. She didn’t waste much time, just got straight to the point,

Clipboard Lady: “What is your opinion on same-sex marriage?”

Why hello! Welcome to the fair. My response was almost as abrupt as her question,

Me: “I support it.”

Clipboard Lady: “Can you tell me why?”

To be honest, this is the first time someone has ever asked me why I support it. Normally this topic comes up under the guise of facebook fighting over some stupid thing that’s happened in the news, like whether or not to eat chicken sandwiches from a place that does not support same-sex marriage. So other than the conversations David and I have, I had never really formulated a clear reason for what I believe, so I spouted out the first thing that came to my mind.

Me: “Because I believe in human rights and doing what’s fair.”

She commented on what a simple answer that was, and for me, it really is that simple. Turns out she was recruiting people to volunteer for the “Minnesota United for All Families” campaign, a campaign David and I have supported since it’s origination, so we signed up to volunteer the weekend of September 8th. I was told I’d be talking to people about the amendment. It was then that I realized I better figure out what I want to say/what I really think!

For me, writing this is like coming out of the “Christian Closet”, meaning, this is the first time I’ve gone on record as supporting same-sex marriage. As most of you may know, I grew up Christian for the most part, went to a Christian university, and identify as Christian. So sitting here, typing these words, is terrifying, because I know many people reading this will not agree with me, and will potentially be praying for me because of this. But the older I get, the more desire I have to be myself, not what other people think I should be. So here it is; I support same sex marriage, and I don’t find that to be at odds with my faith.

Two blog posts I came across (both below) helped me to reaffirm what my heart was already telling me.
“Why I regret voting Yes on Prop 8”:
“Apologizing to my Gay Neighbors”:

I believe in the separation of church and state, and because of that belief, I do not think it is okay to legislate my religious beliefs. Whether or not I think “being gay” is a sin, does not and should not change the way I vote on this issue. The bible is very clear about taking care of your body, and treating it as a temple, and I will not be rallying around laws to determine limits on caloric intake any time soon, so how is this issue any different? For me, it is no different. We live in a society where I believe consenting individuals should be able to make their own choices, whether or not it aligns with my religion or not.

I’ve also heard the argument that same-sex marriage will hurt the institution of marriage, and potentially the kids these couples will (maybe) adopt. Hmmm. Well, I’m not quite sure these thoughts are research-based (like literally, I really don’t know if research shows this or not, because I haven't looked), but I do know this:

Research has shown that children of divorce are more likely to divorce later in life. Research has also shown that divorce has a negative impact on the children from the union. I am a child of divorce, so therefore, according to the research, I am more likely to get a divorce, thus potentially hurting or imposing negative impacts any children I have with David.

Now imagine if someone told me that because of this likelihood, that I was legally NOT ALLOWED to get married, ever. That. Is. Terrifying.

Which is why I’m voting “No” to the marriage amendment this November. I do not believe that a group of people should be discriminated against because of their personal choice as to who they consensually marry. My call, as a Christian, is to love. Honor God, love people. That’s it; that’s the basis of what Jesus was saying. He never used the political system to change the hearts of people; he used love and acceptance of the person. I’m not convinced that using political power to get people to comply with “God’s word” is an effective strategy in loving his people. If anything, I think it sends a big message of “not welcome here” to any gay or lesbian individual, and for that, I am so sorry.

I am sorry to anyone who feels hurt or abandoned by the church. I am so sorry that the church has made you feel like you were not welcomed or loved by God, just as you are. I’m sorry that anyone made you feel like you were “less than”, like you were condemned and hated. I cannot apologize enough for how misconstrued this whole thing has become. Mostly, I’m sorry I stayed silent for so long. My call is to stand for what’s right, and the way the church and select Christians have treated you, is simply, unacceptable. It’s the exact opposite of what Jesus called his people to, and I’m so sorry I haven’t said anything before now.

To hear about how others are reconciling with the GLBT population, read this awesome blog post:
“I hugged a man in his underwear. And I am proud”:!/2010/06/i-hugged-man-in-his-underwear-and-i-am.html