uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Monday, May 13, 2013

C'mon Minnesota!

I've never been prouder of a state I live in: Minnesota is poised to become the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the first in the Midwest to do so legislatively.

The Senate is expected to take up debate today. DFL leaders say they have the votes to pass it, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign it.

The debate last Thursday in the state House, which passed the measure, was both inspiring and infuriating. Tim Faust, a Lutheran minister and state legislator, gave a moving speech in favor of the legislation, while others treated us to a greatest-hits album of anti-gay propaganda, including Rep. Peggy Scott, who should hitherto be referred to as the most disingenuous person in the state capitol (if that's possible). Scott said her "heart breaks" over the bill, and suggested it was "divisive." The issue was not too divisive last year, however, when she voted in favor of the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, or the host of other "divisive" things (including several anti-abortion bills) she supported then as well.

Meanwhile, we were again treated to references to a "study" that supposedly showed that same-sex parents are worse at raising children than opposite-sex parents (not that parenthood has anything to do with modern marriage, with its rampant no-fault divorce for parents of children), despite the fact that the study was audited and found to be severely flawed, with the auditor literally calling it "bullshit."

It's time for Minnesota and everyone else to realize the inevitable: there are no rational, objective reasons for denying same-sex couples the right to marry the person they love. There are specious rationalizations, to be sure, like the favorite one that treats marriage as an unchanging institution for "thousands of years," which any student of history knows is pure bunk. And there are appeals to the Bible, which is irrelevant (even if it said unambiguously what they say it says), since freedom of conscience means we are allowed to develop our own ethical paradigms short of any actual, demonstrable harm (again, never proven in this debate) that can be shown to warrant state interest in a given issue.

Meanwhile, until this law is passed, a sizable portion of our population is excluded from the full rights and privileges of everyone else. Scott's "heart breaks" because her attempt at exercising state control over other people's lives has failed? Please: save the heartbreak for the truly heartbreaking stories, like the many told during the debate of couples denied access to their partners during illness -- including one couple separated while one of them suffers from Alzheimer's.

This is the true heartbreak. It will be a historical puzzlement of the highest order someday that Scott and others could not see that.

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