Dear Bloggy Friends and Readers:
I received a note in my inbox today. I am going to go ahead and just copy it here. Will you please call Senator John Marty, or perhaps email him, and say thank you?
April 9, 2009
Statement by Senator John Marty on impact of Iowa and Vermont for Minnesota marriage equality:
John Marty is author of Senate File 120, the Minnesota “Marriage and Family Protection Act” which provides equal marriage rights to same-sex couples
“Recent action by the Iowa Supreme Court and the Vermont Legislature to give marriage equality to the LGBT community provides a big boost to our efforts in Minnesota.
Last year, Doug Benson, a man who has come to the Minnesota capitol regularly, seeking the ability to marry his life partner, asked if I would author legislation to provide marriage equality rights for his family and other LGBT families. I agreed to do so, and we introduced the Marriage and Family Protection Act, even though many people argued that this legislation would stand no chance in Minnesota. At the time, the struggle looked monumental.
There was strong opposition to gay marriage back in 2003 and 2004, but much of that opposition was based on fear and misunderstanding. Same-sex marriage was a concept that most Minnesotans were not familiar with.
However, Minnesotans are fair-minded, and willing to listen. As more LGBT people have come out of the closet, the public is getting to know wonderful gay and lesbian families. Minnesotans are becoming aware that LGBT folks are hard-working people who go to work, attend church, and are good neighbors. Many are parents and they are active in their children’s Little League and the PTA. Like other families, they take care of each other, especially when someone is sick or hurting.
OutFront Minnesota, an LGBT advocacy group, is working to facilitate conversations with people, particularly people active in faith communities throughout the state. Those conversations allow people to talk about their concerns, and to hear and observe the love and respect LGBT people have for each other, their families, and their neighbors.
As Minnesotans learn about the issue, it becomes obvious that none of the vocal opponents has ever presented a single cogent argument how a marriage between two women hurts anyone else’s marriage. Likewise, people can see clearly that a marriage between Doug and Duane does not affect their own. OutFront knows that through these conversations, Minnesota values come to the forefront and as a result, people reject discrimination against same-sex families.
Times are changing. Same-sex Marriage has come to the Midwest. When Iowa couples begin getting married this month, there won’t be riots in the streets of Des Moines. Instead, there will be wedding ceremonies, with happy couples, in churches and courthouses from Keokuk to Sioux City.
Minnesota lesbian and gay families deserve the same rights that our neighbors in Iowa have. They deserve the right to have each other and their children qualify for the health care benefits they get at work. They deserve the right to visit each other in the hospital, the right to inherit each other’s property, and hundreds of other rights that most families take for granted.
This year, the discrimination faced by LGBT families hits particularly hard as they, like all families struggle in this deep recession. Unfortunately, our marriage equality legislation is not likely to become law this year, so they won’t get the fair treatment they need now. However, we still hope to get a hearing on our marriage equality bill this session, taking one more concrete step to making this a reality in Minnesota.
Fortunately, through the educational work and outreach of groups like OutFront Minnesota, Marriage Equality Minnesota, and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), attitudes are changing by the month. The promise of marriage equality for all Minnesota families is within reach, and may well be realized in less than three years.”