Sunday, October 28, 2012

Every four years, a girl needs to blog. Your Child and the Marriage Amendment As a new parent, you gaze upon your infant in awe, hopelessly in love. You want everything to be perfect, want to work to give your child every possible opportunity. You notice what is unique about your baby – confidence, stubbornness, shyness, a sunny or a gloomy disposition. Soon you are struggling with the notion of normal: percentiles in weight and height, when your baby crawls, walks, says his or her first word. You strive to do the right thing, weighing the advice of others with what you’ve learned about your particular child. You talk and cuddle, soothe the hurts and call out what’s right. You don’t know where your baby will go in life. You simply pour abundance over your child: sunshine and fertilizer, rest and rain, schools and family, a safe and loving home. As your child gets older and starts to separate from you, you weigh in on his friends, encourage her achievements, point out faults and hope for the best. As you age, you start to envision life from your adult child’s point of view. Does he have healthy, intimate relationships? How does she fit within her culture or workplace? What about traits which put him at odds with society? You celebrate her achievements – and you never stop worrying, never stop dreaming. If your child is gay or lesbian, you have extra homework. You go through a process of adjustment and review a checklist of new worries: Physical safety? Acceptance by friends and family? Acceptance in the workplace and in society? Prospects for a loving partner? The dream of grandchildren? ** Somehow most of us who learned that we were gay or lesbian found a path we could travel, true love and a tribe of friends which included family who accepted us if we were fortunate. I grew up in suburban Detroit, the oldest of seven children, a writer and an athlete. I discovered my identity as a lesbian in my mid-20’s during graduate school. Today I work in health care information technology, live with my partner of 27 years and our puppy in Minneapolis and am close to my parents, siblings and their families. Same-sex marriage is already banned in Minnesota, in a statute passed by the Minnesota legislature in 1997 shortly after passage of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. This legislation reflects the limits we continue to place on the dreams of some of our parents. This legislation reflects the limits we continue to place on the lives of some of our citizens. But many in our state instead seek a more limited role for government. Many are advocating for less state control over individual freedoms. And we all value our system of democracy, which gives us the right to amend laws to reflect the changing will of the people over time. Minnesota state law bans same-sex marriage in Minnesota. That has been the law since 1997. But those who seek less governmental control over individual choices and those who seek equality under the law for those who wish to marry have the right to work to change that law. This is a founding strength of our system of government. Changing the state constitution, however, diminishes the ability of the people of Minnesota to have a voice in the laws that govern them. For the parents you know or the parents and grandparents you might someday be, please vote NO on the Minnesota Same Sex Marriage Amendment in November. Your children and grandchildren will thank you.

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