Why I’m Voting No

Ben from TheSweatervest blog invited me to write about why I’m voting no to the Minnesota Marriage Amendment this November for his 42 Days of No project, which is highlighting “Why I’m Voting No” stories by Minnesotans (he started it 42 days prior to this November’s vote). This piece was submitted for that project.

I am voting NO on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment because a yes vote is a vote for discrimination. I don’t want to hear one more story about gay families being denied hospital visitation, bereavement rights or control of their possessions or children because they were not afforded the same legal protection that straight couples receive. The Minnesota Marriage Amendment is a Hail Mary pass supported by bigots that is intended to delay the inevitable; gay marriage WILL be legal in my lifetime.

I am voting NO because the Minnesota Marriage Amendment is a ploy by Republicans who are trying to win support from religiously-motivated voters. It is a cheap trick and dirty politics, and I don’t support it.

Vote No Jeep

Vote No Jeep parked outside of the YWCA in Uptown, Minneapolis.

I have a coworker who told me that she’s voting yes because the bible implies that gay marriage is wrong. She says she respects gay people, and that voting yes doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love her gay friends and family.


If you love your gay friends and family, help protect them against inequitable representation in the legal system. If you are voting yes in November, you are spitting in the faces of people who need your help. You are telling them that you think they are wrong, that you know who they should love and marry better than they do.

Vote No Car in Front of Uptown Theater

 Vote No Car stopped in front of the Uptown Theater in Minneapolis

I have an acquaintance who doesn’t believe the government should be involved in marriage at all. He says he’s going to vote yes because he thinks this will send a message that government shouldn’t have any say over marriage at all.

That is an incredibly fucked up viewpoint.

The Minnesota Marriage Amendment would exert more government control over marriage, not less. It would be so bold as to define who can and can’t get married. What right does government have to make that call? For right or wrong, the government does have some say in marriage and in the rights of married people. If it is going to exert that control, it should at least do so without preference to one set of people over others.

It is my honor and duty to vote, and I am voting NO on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment because I will not stand quietly aside as discrimination is codified into our constitution. Neither god nor politics has a place in the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, and I will not let arguments to either of these blind me to the fact that voting yes to this heinous, sorry excuse of a proposed amendment would harm my fellow Minnesotans.

Why I’m Voting No
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31 thoughts on “Why I’m Voting No

    1. 1.1

      as biodork noted, it increases gov’t interference in marriage. The next step with this nonsens is having the gov’t telling us which religions can and can’t marry people.

      this ignorance nonsense is the same as conservatives claimign that they want less gov’t but wanting a guard being stationed at the entrance of every woman’s vagina. &)

      1. I get the desired outcome. I even desire the same outcome.

        But it’s like trying to defeat racism by campaigning against civil rights. A protest vote for the incumbent. Trying to change Republican policy by voting for Romney. Being so incensed by poor customer service you sign up for a ten year contract.

      2. The next step with this nonsens[e] is having the gov’t telling us which religions can and can’t marry people.

        Well, probably not because First Amendment; although, IIRC, some states make it illegal for a clergyperson to perform a marriage ceremony for which the happy couple have not obtained a marriage license.

  1. 2

    “If you love your gay friends and family”…..

    If you love your gay friends and family, then you want to help them make sure that they can get health insurance like other couples and that they can help each other and speak for each other if they need hospital care.

    If you don’t want this for them, then you DON’T love them.

  2. 4

    Love this post and that acquaintance of yours really has something wrong in their head. Vote yes and it’s a message against government intrusion? Please.

    Also, I would ask that you would do a post about saying NO on Voter ID. It’s a solution in search of a problem and even if there were people attempting to do anything like that, it certainly wouldn’t affect anything city or county wide elections. And if the city or county is big enough, not even then. Plus it’d be a waste of taxpayer money and would keep people from exercizing their right to vote.

  3. 6

    “I have an acquaintance who doesn’t believe the government should be involved in marriage at all. He says he’s going to vote yes because he thinks this will send a message that government shouldn’t have any say over marriage at all.”

    I’ve run into this argument too; and yes it is fucked up; especially since, in my experience, it usually comes from the Libertarian types who, in other discussions, will wax on and on about the sacredness of contracts.

    Well, marriage is a contract, and there are whole host of legal implications, from hospital visitation to insurance and pension benefits to inheritance taxes (see the NY DOMA decision) which are dependent on that contract. Preventing people from freely entering into that contract is a government intrusion into their rights. Saying the government should have nothing to do with marriage is simply naive, and a misunderstanding of what marriage is and what this fight is about.

    Her in the Great White North we stopped the discrimination a few years ago. Hasn’t changed anything fro old married straights like me, but it fills me with joy to see my gay friends and relatives finally enjoying the same rights and privileges and obligations that I do in my marriage. (I’m just a sucker for a good love story…don’t tell anyone…)

    So good luck to my southern neighbours; don’t give up the fight. It does get better…

  4. 7

    I’m voting no because civil rights should not be based on who you love.

    I’m voting no because I did not choose to be heterosexual, I was born this way, and shouldn’t be treated differently than those those who were born different than me.

    I’m voting no because I have a son and a daughter and I want them to be free to marry whoever they love.

    I’m voting no because the government should not sanction the sacraments of any churches and not the sacraments of other churches (frankly, I don’t think the government should be sanctioning the sacraments of any church).

    I’m voting no because a constitution is a lousy place for bigotry.

  5. 9

    I have a coworker who told me that she’s voting yes because the bible implies that gay marriage is wrong.

    So? The Bible doesn’t apply to most people (there are between 5 and 20 non-christians in the world for every christian, depending whose estimate of the number of christians you believe). And those to whom it does apply, will still have the option not to marry their gay partners if they don’t want to. Why do they want to force their outdated ideas of marriage onto everyone else?

    She says she respects gay people

    Evidently she does not respect them enough to want them to be allowed to marry like everyone else, though

    , and that voting yes doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love her gay friends and family.

    Then your co-worker has a seriously fucked-up definition of “love”.

    Seriously, how is voting to restrict who can get married to whom an act of love for those to whom she seeks to deny marriage? Has she even listened to what she is saying?

    I would like to think that someone displaying your co-worker’s attitude in Britain would be friendless if not jobless.

  6. 10

    Since the laws that deny gay civil rights are “bible-based” my No vote will be a vote in favor of the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment…as well as the right thing to do. Go No!

  7. 11

    There’s a lot of bad information about what a marriage is as defined by the government. One problem is that some people think that because you are married in a civil ceremony that your church has to recognize it.

    My wife and I were married by a captain, in order for the marriage to be recognized as the sacrament of marriage to the catholic church we had to had another ceremony to have it blessed, so I am well aware of this, but I wonder how many people that are voting yes realize this.

    I think “A Hermit” hit it on the head marriage as defined by government is a contract. It is unfortunate that we use the same word for that contract that religion uses for a sacrement or a ritual.

    I hate to bring up the hated civil union, but maybe if we renamed what the government recognized as a civil union (pick some other word if you don’t like it) for all people — straight or gay — and left the word marriage to the religious, we’d be where we should be by now.

  8. 13

    Benjamin – I used to advocate for that same point, even going so far to postulate new vocabularies, e.g. “We got unioned yesterday”. But, in face of the implausibility of our culture (see “brights”) and legal system prescriptively adopting an entirely new nomenclature, I realized I was merely engaging in mental masturbation. Worse, my making my points was sapping energy and time away from people who are trying to get real rights to real people RIGHT NOW. Basically, I was not helping. I now see the “civil union” approach in a new light: Nobody “owns” any part of the English language. Religious bigots don’t own the word “marriage”, and do not have final say on what it means. So, fuck em. Let’s trim off all the religious bigotry and discriminatory fat from what these bigots think “marriage” is, and call the leftover cut of meat “marriage”. Problem solved… As far as I’m concerned, the notion of “marriage” as a religious term can wallow in the dustbins of history.

    1. 13.1

      Kevin, interesting how you see the country redefining marriage into civil union as mental masturbation and then end you post with something equally idealistic. There isn’t much likelihood that you are going to be able to separate the religious portion out of marriage for most of the people in this country. Not to say that I wouldn’t be happy with that solution.

      I realize the likelihood of either of the above is very slim, but I think the discussion is important to be had because again I have run into people that don’t understand it. A marriage in a church is both a religious event and a signing of a contract, a secular marriage by a civil servant is just a contract and does not have to be recognized as a religious event.

      Why is this important? Because some people think that allowing gays the right to marry would mean their church would have to marry them and have it be a religious event. (I have met such people.) Maybe there aren’t a lot of people like that, but my impression is that this is a pretty close issue (from the polls I’ve seen it’s pretty like 46% yes/49% no with an error margin that makes the different negligible).

      1. I wasn’t calling your vantage point “mental masturbation” because it was overly idealistic. I was calling it that because it isn’t a viable solution. Even if it were in some way “the best possible state of affairs” – where religions do marriage and governments do unions – we can’t get there from here. More pertinently, nobody is even interested in trying. Show me one – just one – single campaign pushing the notion of “Let’s get ‘marriage’ out of the government, and replace it with X”, for some value of X. One petition, one grassroots group, one political ad, or one politician (national, state, hell, even mayoral) making it a piece of his or her platform. Or just one supreme court cases, state or national, past or present, that’s weighing the option or striking marriage from government operations.

        That’s my point. There’s simply nothing there. It’s an idea with no momentum, no support, and no direction. And that’s after it’s been kicked around the marketplace of ideas for years… It isn’t a fresh, new, or novel idea. I was all excited about the idea 10 years ago – I could’ve written your original post, for that matter… and it took me a bit to understand why nobody else was greeting it with the same enthusiasm. For all of it’s ideological elegance (as an engineer, I felt it was just “the right way” to handle the whole mess), it’s a solution nobody is interested in.

        Conversely, do you want me to try to find any political groups in favor of “marriage equality”, that is, a legal definition of marriage with no religious connotations and open to people of all genders/orientations? Think I can find any grassroots organizations out there pushing for that? Think I can find any politicians that support it? These ideas are on ballots today. State Supreme Courts have already made it so. Indiana is being taken to court right now because they aren’t allowing an atheist group conduct marriage ceremonies… DOMA is breathing it’s last breath.

        That’s the point I’m making – the secularization and debigotrification (how is that not in thee dictionary 🙂 ) of legal marriage is already underway. And the culture is catching up as well – the ignorance you describe above is certainly there, but it is rapidly diminishing (besides, you don’t fix ignorance by making the world look as ignoramuses would like to see it).

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