For years our society has been trying to reconcile homosexuality, morality and law. We have been working our way slowly from rejection to tolerance, to acceptance, to advocacy. Resistance has been grounded in tradition and religion. Most of the time, we have been changed, reluctantly, by relationships with gay family and friends. They have taught us that our prejudices cause secret pain and torturous alienation. That is why I am voting NO to the arrogant marriage amendment.
It has been a pleasure for me to serve all the residents of the 5th Ward and the city of Minneapolis. But it is also an obligation and a sworn oath. I am obligated to serve each and every citizen because each is equal in the eyes of the law and every vote counts. It is no stretch therefore, for me to support each citizen’s right to a full and equal expression of his or her humanity, regardless of race, class, gender or sexual orientation. That is why I am voting NO and appealing to all to vote no, to the undemocratic marriage amendment.
I understand that many of my neighbors struggle to take such a linear approach to justice and freedom. Tradition and religion suggest a much more selective and nuanced approach to justice. Tradition might have us relegate residents of some zip codes to inferior living conditions and consider it okay. Religion might have us limit the opportunities for women or in this case, create greater constraints for homosexual neighbors than for heterosexuals.
True civic leadership offers no such luxury. Politicians and bureaucrats are paid from the taxes of every citizen and we are obligated to preserve equal execution of equitable laws. I have given impartial service to former opponents, philosophical opposites and personal detractors and friends alike. To do otherwise, would be vindictive and an abuse of power. That is why I am voting NO on the preferential marriage amendment.
Martin Luther King used the analogy of a bounced check to symbolize the inconsistency between the constitutional promise and the stultifying realities of black life. Little did the founding fathers realize the long radius of the sweeping flag of justice they waved at the world. They did not expect it to extend to our slaves, our women or our poor. And when it did, at every juncture, half of our country has sought to retreat from its promise. That is why I will vote NO to the reactionary marriage amendment.
My religious brothers and sisters are particularly challenged by social evolution. For many, God’s spirit is enmeshed in our traditions and the Devil inhabits our transitions. After all, the bible ordered that women keep silence in the church and never be leaders of men. It gave many a wink and a nod to the institution of slavery. St. Paul ordered a Christian slave, back into the stifling embrace of his Christian master. Jesus himself declared that there would always be poor people among us, so why, some ask, should we even try to eliminate poverty?
Yet, as a nation, we have boldly defied the unjust interpretation of all those scriptures. In the spirit of our forefathers who fled Europe’s theologically justified inequities and in obedience to the call to love our neighbor as ourselves, we have declared all humans equally endowed by their creator. We have defied profitable oppression, intoxicating tribalism, unjust solidarity and centuries of global sexism to create a new kind of society, our City on a Hill. In so doing we have unleashed creativity, multiplied productivity and normalized social mobility. We have become the envy of the world. That is why I am voting NO to the un-American marriage amendment.