Richfield Resident Addresses Community About New Amendment That Would Ban Gay Marriage

Local couple writes to community members about the impact a ban on gay marriage rights would have on the gay couples.

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

Jody Johnson May 10, 2011 at 05:53 PM
I agree, philip- I think it would clarify the issue a great deal if there was civil marriage, and religious marriages. This is a fairness and equality issue, not a religious issue. And kevin, being straight doesn't guarantee morality. its simply the way some people are born. Real morality would rely on a persons behaviors and choices. In my opnion "morality" does not include hate and intolerance. It is about treating others with respect and kindness, having the integrity to challenge injustices. It is choosing to live a loving life, and to contribute something positive to the world. I would far rather have a gay neighbor than a neighbor who is intolerant of others or self righteous about their supposed religion.
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 10, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Here is one more point I would make. Go to the web site https://www.massequality.org/ and read. On May 17, 2011 Massachusetts will celebrate 7 years of marriage equality. The world has not ended because of legalized marriage equality in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Iowa or Canada. And in case you have not heard marriage equality is also legal in Ireland, Mexico and many other countries. How is it that the one country that loves to tout our horn about freedom and democracy for all of our citizens cannot pass marriage equality for all is the United States of America?
Beth May 10, 2011 at 06:17 PM
AND, 87 % of Ireland is Roman Catholic. I think Ireland has been able to separate is issues more clearly than we have in the United States.
Kevin O'Donovan May 10, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Ms.Johnson, you make the assumption that one is born homosexual. You may be right,or wrong. You are certainly right that being straight doesn't guarantee goodness. Morality cannot be determined by behaviors and choices. That would be like determining a winning hand in a game of cards to be whatever you held, and the losing hand being the other players cards. You can rewrite rules but it becomes a different game. You can have integrity and still be wrong on almost any issue. A parent can love and respect a child but still offer correction without withdrawing support, care ,and concern. You don't have to be religious to see the dangers of homosexual behavior, the harm of divorce, or the poverty of single parenthood. Is anyone proposing punishment? The traditional family is the foundation of a society and this will never change. Can people of the same gender have a deep and abiding friendship, and be of support to one another? YES! YES! YES! That is the scientific, biological limitation nature imposes, and it will always remain the same.
Mary Barnes May 10, 2011 at 06:52 PM
Your thoughts will change, as soon as you are hit by a tornado. All you cranky people, get off your lap top. Yikes!
Jody Johnson May 10, 2011 at 06:52 PM
Kevin-just because you have that opinion doesn't make it so. I don't believe there are any dangers to heterosexuals simply because someone else is gay. Stds occur in both populations. There is more than one kind of family. And just because a family contains one or more straight parents doesn't guarantee good care. I know, I do child proyection social work. In my 12 years of having clients, not one perpetrator of abuse has been gay. The majority are straight heterosexual men- those really moral people you keep talking about. Many of those people vonsidered themselves religious. And funny, the more adamant they were about their religion, the more severe the abuse. Beatings with belts and electrical cords, ongoing sexual abuse. Religious fundementalism does not impress me. It appears to be tied to some very rigid and abusive people- the ones who really hurt families, not people who just happen to be gay.
Kay Nelson May 11, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 11, 2011 at 09:31 PM
I want to leave some myths about the amendment against marriage equality for LGBT Minnesotan's which just tragically passed in the Minnesota Senate. You can read those myths at http://outfront.org/marriage/myths they are offered by University of Minnesota School of Law Professor Dale Carpenter. Myth #1: "Let the People Vote" Facts: * The people have already voted on this issue through their elected representatives: Gay marriage is already prohibited. * A "Yes" vote will not simply allow a ballot, but will support an unnecessary amendment. Legislators use their own judgment about constitutional amendments. We are not California. * 301 of the last 304 filed constitutional amendments were not passed on to the voters. Legislators rejected them — most without even a floor vote. The people did not vote on them. * In 153 years, Minnesota has never amended its constitution on a family law issue. * One poll claiming a majority of Minnesotans want to vote on this was released by supporters of the amendment. It has not been independently verified for methodological validity. * The same unverified poll — revealingly — did not divulge the priority Minnesotans give to voting on this issue in a time of economic anxiety and budget crisis. The marriage amendment does nothing to help the people on these critical issues.
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 11, 2011 at 09:32 PM
Myth #2: "The Courts Will Decide if We Don't" Facts: * A Hennepin judge dismissed a lawsuit for gay marriage. * Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund, which opposes gay marriage, has said: "I expect that the Minnesota Supreme Court or some other lower court will again reject this challenge to the marriage definition." * The Minnesota Supreme Court already rejected a gay marriage claim (Baker v. Nelson (1971)). Most state supreme court members today were appointed by Gov. Pawlenty. * Even gay-rights groups have refused to support the gay-marriage lawsuit in Minnesota. * The amendment will invite more court involvement to determine its validity and interpretation. This means needless costs for the state and its citizens.
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 11, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Myth #3: "A 'No' Vote is a Vote for Gay Marriage and Will Expand Gay Rights" Facts: * Minnesota law already limits marriage to one man and one woman. * Minnesota law already bans recognition of gay marriages from other states. * A 'No' vote will not make gay marriage legal in Minnesota. * The Minnesota Family Council said in a form letter to be sent to legislators: "I understand that you are not being asked to decide if marriage is the union of a man and a woman."
Mary Barnes May 12, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Thank you Jody. It is a game, get us upset about Gays, while the handicap people witll be sent to sursing homes. Great for nursing homes, sucks for the handicap residents. What has our country become? The home for the rich? Canada, is looking really good. Even Japan, where, the people are soft spoken, and they care about their neighbor. South Minneapolis, listen up, just because, you think you are cute, here in Richfield, we care about our neighbors, all of our neighbors, rich, poor, homeless, from another country. Just venting, since the west side gramma & I got in a fight. I'm moving north. I have no time for crabby, yucky people. Kissing the grandbaby good bye, until she is 23. Sorry, Em. I have a 3 year old 2 doors down, that thinks, I'm ok. Em, write when you graduate, because, this gramma, really does not want to make an appointment to see you.
Jody Johnson May 12, 2011 at 02:32 AM
Mary I'm not sure what the nursing home reference is to, but not all people with disabilities live in nursing homes. All four of my kids have special needs, and they all live at home and go to regular schools. A lot of people with physical challenges live in the community unless they are to the point where they can't take care of themselves in their own homes anymore. Even people who are quite frail are able to live in their own homes if they have live in staff who can help them. Nursing homes are very expensive, and I don't think the state is looking to put more people in nursing homes- it would be more likely that the nursing homes would lose funding and people wouldn't be able to pay to be in one, or that the nursing home staff would get wage cuts. I'm not sure what nursing homes have to do with gay marriage. Although if one gay partner was in a nursing home, the other would likely have no legal right to visit the partner or make medical decisions unless they had set up a power of attorney, while heterosexual married folks would have those rights. I think you're right, in Richfield we try to care about all our neighbors. Which is part of why this proposed amendment bothers me- it is a permanent way to discriminate against our gay neighbors. It is an invalidation of their relationships, of their very identity.
Jody Johnson May 12, 2011 at 02:39 AM
My husband and I decided that we wanted to put a visible symbol in our yard of our support for our GLBT neighbors. Since the colors purple and pink have been associated with the GLBT community, we are planting flowers in those colors instead of going with traditional red geraniums this year. They will be in buckets in our front yard, and we plan to get hanging baskets as well in those colors. We may not be able to change the unfair status of our marriage laws, but we can visibly and symbolically show our support for the GLBT community through the power of flowers.
Mary Barnes May 12, 2011 at 03:07 AM
The handicap adults, went to the Capital, and protested. They said "they would rather be in jail" then to go to a nursing home. Funny thing, I read the newspaper, and also WCCO news. Opps, sorry, I, forgot to dye my hair blonde. I will get on that tomorrow. In between my new windows.
Mary Barnes May 12, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Four kids, what green foot are you leaving? Glad you love having kids, personally, 2 is more than enough. I hope you have oddles of college money.
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 12, 2011 at 03:13 AM
Jody, I am moved by your support. The pink triangle is associated with the LGBT communities because that was the symbol worn by the LGBT people who were slaughtered by Adolf Hitler along with all the other folks he slaughtered. The rainbow flag is our most prominent flag and it represents the diversity of our communities, as well as the reality that we are in every nation, from every race, in every religion, and we represent different occupations, styles, etc. The bill has a good chance of failing in the House Rules Committee. Rep. Paul Thissen is on the House Rules Committee. If it is stopped in the House Rules Committee it is dead for this year. If it isn't stopped there it goes to the House floor.
Jody Johnson May 12, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Mary, the number of kids a person has is a private decision. Two of my children are internationally adopted and have limb differences. In their birth countries they would have little chance to have a "normal" life. Here they are thriving and are well loved by family, friends, and classmates. The
Mary Barnes May 12, 2011 at 03:48 AM
Jody, I am thrilled that you adopted, I had 2 miscarriages, between my girls, during a time, that women did not "talk" about lost babies. Honestly, I went to work the next day, both times. Thank you, you made my day brighter. Mary
Mary Barnes May 12, 2011 at 03:55 AM
Why did I go back to work? Because the work place, did not pay me, to be off work to have a child, or to lose a child. I loved my boss, but he was a George Bush lover. All of us at Ron-Mar put money into a SarSep. The boss, gave us only cheap meat. The meat was fantastic, and the friendship, I can not explain!
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) May 12, 2011 at 08:37 PM
The Minnesota Senate and House have passed this legislation and the vote will now go before Minnesota voters in the fall. We're working on getting reactions from Richfield's legislative representatives. Patch invites you to stay in the discussion. Thank you all for your comments.
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 12, 2011 at 08:49 PM
That information is incorrect. The Senate has passed the legislation, but the House has not. The House Rules Committee must vote on the measure before it goes to the House Floor. The House Rules Committee has not yet met to pass the legislation to the House Floor, and it has not yet been voted for this legislation. Only the Senate has voted in favor of it.
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 12, 2011 at 08:53 PM
Also the measure does not go to the voters this year, it goes before the voters in 2012 as part of the Presidential election.
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 12, 2011 at 08:58 PM
I just double checked my info with Andy Birkey the best LGBT news reporter in the area. He confirmed my answers Caitlin. The House Rules Committee has not met or voted on the amendment yet. So it has not been passed in the House.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) May 13, 2011 at 12:06 AM
Sorry everyone! I misspoke. Thanks for double checking that Philip.
Mary Barnes May 13, 2011 at 03:12 AM
opps, Caitlin, maybe our "new" Smart phones, should have a 5 hour delay, the guys keep finding your mistakes :) Oh well, you are after all "only human"
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) May 13, 2011 at 05:38 AM
Somehow I thought I was living in 2012 already! My birthday's coming up this weekend so I think I'm getting a little off, turning a year older and all.
CT June 08, 2011 at 04:31 AM
You do realize that many of the founders of our country were in fact Deists, not Christians. Morality and Christianity are not one and the same. In fact, one can be moral without being religious as all. And homosexual marriage will be approved one day. Maybe not tomorrow, but within the next ten years for sure. It is coming. If you don't like it and think it is immoral, then don't marry another man! It really is as easy as that.
CT June 08, 2011 at 04:43 AM
What exactly are the dangers of homosexual behavior? Because I actually don't see them. Just so you know, our generation views yours and your opinions on homosexuality largely in the same manner your generation probably views previous generations' views on race and equality. You are outdated sir.
Philip Lowe, Jr. June 08, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Thank you for your excellent comments CT. Well said!
Jody Johnson June 09, 2011 at 02:02 AM
Thank you CT- glad to see a member of the "younger generation" speaking out on this. Some of us middle aged folks always believed in equality too, even as younger folks... it gives me hope to think that someday this will not even be seen as a question to debate, but simply a reality- that everyone deserves the right to have their loving committed relationships recognized.


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