Editor's Note: The following letter was submitted to Richfield Patch by Richfield residents .
Dear Richfield Patch and Richfield Residents,
I am sure by now everyone heard that there is a constitutional amendment that would ban marriage equality for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people making it's way through the Minnesota House and Senate. If this bill is passed by the legislature, Gov. Mark Dayton does not have the power to veto this legislation. It would have to go to the ballot for a vote in the 2012 elections.
If this bill were to pass and become law among the many things it would do is place discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into Minnesota's State Constitution. Not only would same-sex couples not be allowed to legally marry the person they love, but they would also be denied all rights and responsibilities to their same-sex spouses including hospital visitation, assistance with intense medical treatment, and the ability to care for their partner's deceased remains in the event of their death.
Minnesota LGBT persons and families already do not have these rights. A constitutional amendment would permanently make the loss of those rights a constitutional mandate.
Allow me to give you one example of how devastating the loss of these rights can be. A man and his partner in South Minneapolis were together for 26 years. One day, one of those partners died in the home. When the grieving partner called for the EMT's who later called the state medical examiner to verify the death of the individual. They could not remove the deceased man's body from the home, until the other partner called his late partner's mother to identify him as her son. The now widowed partner, grieving and horrified by the loss he was experienced was further inconvenienced by not being a "family member," according to Minnesota Law so as to identify who his partner of 26 years was.
A constitutional amendment would make this kind of thing permanent.
How does this kind of thing really reflect the best of Minnesota?
How would placing this as a constitutional mandate in Minnesota be a good neighborly thing?
Another question I suggest we all ask ourselves is, should any of us be able to vote on the validity or legalization of someone else's marriage and/or love relationship?
If this amendment is passed and placed on the 2012 ballot, the campaign to get it passed will get extremely ugly. The National Organization for Marriage, the Minnesota Family Council, and the Minnesota Catholic Conference will produce television, newspaper and Internet advertisements falsely claiming that if gay and lesbian people are allowed to be married, that it will force the local public schools to teach homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle as early as the third grade. Contrary to the opinions of anti-LGBT hate groups, that is not happening in Massachusetts, California or any other state where marriage equality is allowed. In fact in the State of Vermont where marriage equality is legal, the issue is not even a concern for the voters there.
The same hate groups will also produce ads saying that LGBT couples want marriage equality so that they can "recruit and molest children." This also is a false and misleading statement.
LGBT couples who are caring for children are very successful at raising them. In fact there have been next to no cases of abuse of any kind against LGBT couples and families who raise children.
I ask Richfield residents to please contact Rep. Paul Thissen, Rep. Linda Slocum and Sen. Ken Kelash and ask them to oppose the passage of this amendment.
This constitutional amendment will not produce jobs, it will not improve the economy and it will not fix the budget short falls left by the previous administration. It is not a good move for Minnesota.
Philip Lowe, Jr. & Jason King