We take it for granted that all citizens have the right to vote regardless of their gender or race. We don’t think twice about seeing interracial marriages or “people of color” walking into a restaurant. In modern times these are considered normal. Few would say that we shouldn’t have given women or African-Americans the right to vote or that interracial marriage should be illegal.
Yet not so long ago there were many who fought against extending voting rights to citizens who were not white males. Others claimed that interracial marriage was an abomination and that all mixing between races was to be discouraged. If we have learned anything, it would be that history does not look kindly on those who have protested against giving rights to others.
It is odd that in today’s world we are facing a similar situation. Throughout the United States, the civil rights of our citizens are under attack. Across the country, people hold the belief that those who are LGBTQ are unnatural or unholy and that all unions between them should be outlawed.
Because of this belief, 29 states have a constitutional ban on same sex marriage. These bans deny LGBTQ couples access to hundreds of legal protections granted to heterosexual marriages. This is a clear violation of the American ideal of equal protection under the law for all individuals.
Some supporters of these constitutional amendments point to the Bible, picking and choosing the parts that support their needs, but then ignoring those that command the execution of homosexuals (Lev 20:13 ), women who have sex before they are married (Deut 22:13-21), anyone who works on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2) and adulterers (Lev 20:10.) They point to outdated or disproved studies that show that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice associated with depression or other mental health disorders and forget the American Psychological Association announcement that proves quite the opposite.
So, as it comes time for you to vote please ask yourself one question: How will history remember me? Will I be counted among those who fought hard to extend rights to my fellow citizens, just like those who participated in the civil rights and women’s rights movement? Or will I be remembered as a person who denied rights to others because of my personal beliefs, along with the people who believed that non-whites were inferior and women were not intelligent enough to vote? Just remember, never in our history have we said, “Wow, we shouldn’t have given those people rights.” Instead, we always say, “Wow, we should have given them rights sooner.”
Vote no on the marriage amendment and be remembered as part of the long fight for civil rights. Vote no on the marriage amendment to stand up for the separation of church and state that exists in the United States. Vote no for love. And finally, vote no so Minnesota does not create second-class citizens through an amendment to the Constitution.
This letter to the editor was submitted by Matthew Burian of the Concordia College Democrats.