FREE SPEECH ZONE | The Marriage Amendment: Protecting the Children?

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Throughout history and among diverse cultures there have been many forms of marriage, from Abraham’s polygamous marriage with 12 women to today’s monogamous unions.  However, one theme is universally constant. The main purpose of marriage is to legitimize and care for children. If marriage is about shaping the best platform on which to raise children, then the question is not whether same-sex marriage is morally right, but does it allow for the successful raising of children?

Minnesotans for Marriage argues by allowing same-sex marriage “the interests of children – and therefore society’s intrinsic interest in marriage – is eliminated entirely.” They claim same-sex parents cannot compare to straight parents. They demand Minnesotans fight for the rights of children by preserving families, consisting of a mother and father.

We must fight to protect family.  I was raised in a family where I learned traditional American values, such as dedication, hard work, compassion, and love.   My family ate together every night, read hundreds of books out loud, made pancakes on Saturdays and went to church on Sundays. My parents incorporated kindness into daily life, whether it be taking care of injured animals or working with the mentally ill, the elderly and disabled kids. However, like any American family, life is not always picture perfect; it’s a mix of good and bad.  We have our share of squabbles: ‘Whose turn is it to do the dishes?’ or ‘who left their dirty socks on the floor, again?!’ During the financial crisis, my parents were hit really hard. We struggled through a 4-year renovation process.  Through this entire affair, despite their own troubles, my parents constantly sacrificed for me.  To fund my education, they both work extra jobs. In the end, it’s not about the trivial problems.  What matters is how you dealt with them as a team. Marriage is about facing your problems together. Because, no matter what, at the end of the day, it’s their hand you want to hold. For better and for worse, through sickness and through health, my parents have lived this reality for 33 years. I am in awe of my parents, the love and commitment they share for each other, and for me.  They taught me the true meaning of family: unconditional love.

My parents are both women.  Has having same-sex parents destroyed my life? No – I am incredibly blessed. My mother is a Presbyterian minister, and she has taught me to be my brother’s keeper and to love my neighbor. My parents’ compassionate Christian example has inspired me to perform almost 700 hours of community service. My parent’s dedicated work ethic shaped me and helped me to win a dozen national scholarships. Same-sex couples in a loving relationship parent just as well as heterosexual parents in a loving relationship. However, banning same-sex marriage does harm families.

            This amendment will fiscally hurt children of same-sex parents.  As Minnesotans for Marriage stated, “government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids.” Same sex-couples have over one thousand fewer rights than their heterosexual counterparts. These rights include: joint parenting (insurance coverage, school records), visitation of partner’s children, child custody, assumption of spouse’s pension, joint adoption, sick leave to care for partner, and tax breaks.

Denying these benefits can create a precarious financial environment for children. If this amendment passes, the results could be devastating not only to the thousands of children of same-sex couples, but to society as a whole. Increasing the atmosphere of homophobia, this amendment will write discrimination into the constitution.

If marriage really is about protecting children, society should legalize same-sex marriage. Why is it that the same representatives who claim to be protecting children are the ones cutting food stamps and educational funding? Politicians should focus on building families up, instead of trying to tear them down. When you vote, think of me. Think of my family. Please, remember marriage is about what’s best for kids, so vote NO to protect Minnesota’s children!