civil rights, constitutional amendment defining marriage, federalist papers, glbt, governor tim pawlenty, human rights, lgbt, marriage amendment, minnesota republicans, notes on the state of religion query 17, religious freedom, representative greg blaine, representative mike lemieur, same sex marriage, same-sex marriage ban in minnesota, senator paul gazelka, senator paul koering, thomas jefferson
Hubby and I just wrote and submitted a letter to our state legislators concerning the proposed constitutional amendment that will define marriage as between one man and one woman. We do not support this amendment for all sorts of reasons and we’ve been adamant in our non-support for years. In doing research for our letter, we discovered another letter we wrote in 2006 to our then Representative Greg Blaine (with copies to Senator Paul Koering and Governor Tim Pawlenty) voicing our opposition.
As this topic seems to be a perennial favorite among Republicans in Minnesota and the current legislature is attempting to ram through a bill to offer this amendment on the ballot for the 2012 election, we thought we’d try once again to convince our local legislators that there are some people in their district who support gay rights. We’re not sure this is going to do any good, especially seeing as how our Senator, Paul Gazelka, sponsored the bill, but if we don’t speak out, it’s a sure bet we won’t be heard at all. (Which is why we’re reposting the letter here.)
RE: House File 1613; Senate Files 1307, 1308, 1309
Dear Senator Gazelka & Representative LeMieur:
We are writing to urge you not to support a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.
There have been many good arguments made against such an amendment, including its marginalizing of those in the GLBT community and its denial of religious freedom of those churches that support performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Allow us to add one more voice to the mix, that of Thomas Jefferson as quoted from “Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17 – Religion,” a document often included in The Federalist Papers.
“The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. … The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Define for us, what is the injury to anyone if a gay couple gets married? The value of our marriage is intrinsic. If our heterosexual neighbors get divorced, it does not devalue our marriage. If a gay couple down the street from us gets married, that also does not devalue our marriage.
As Jefferson says, neither operations of mind or acts of body should be subject to coercion of law, so long as they are not injurious to others. The mental aspects of a relationship (i.e. attraction, emotions) are operations of the mind. The physical and sexual aspects of a relationship are acts of the body. All of these aspects are experienced by both heterosexual and homosexual couples.
What legitimate right or interest does the State have in amending the constitution if same-sex marriages do not injure others? We don’t see one.
For this and many other reasons, we, as your constituents, do not support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman because it effectively bans same-sex marriages. If such an amendment is put to a vote before the citizens of Minnesota, we will vote against it.
Erik & Mary Warner