There’s a Storm a Brewin’ in Minnesota: NOH8MN

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Some say the Rapture came to Minnesota last weekend, bringing fear and hatred. In the waning hours of Saturday night, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill that places on the November 2012 ballot the question whether to amend the Minnesota Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. This bill was not passed without a somber, civil, sad fight.

All of this happening just 20 minutes from our home, DH & I huddled around my computer listening and watching a live feed from the House Chamber floor. From the feed, we could hear chanting and cheering and faintly make out the chanting from just outside chamber doors, "Just Vote No."

To be clear, there is already a law that defines a marriage as one man and one woman. This ballot item could change the Constitution to reflect the same.

Why I Take Issue with This

While Motherly Law is not a political blog, and generally I leave the politics out of my posts, I do have this to say regarding this issue. I was proud to be a Minnesotan last weekend as I listened to my fellow DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) members and a few Republicans crossing party lines take a stand and discuss why a No vote was in order. I was extremely disappointed in the passage of this bill though.

gay marriage vote in Minnesota
May 21, 2011 - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S. - JULIA O'BRIEN, of Minneapolis, anxiously put her hands on her face as she watched the discussion on the House about the marriage amendment debate during the regular session of the legislature at the Capitol. (Credit Image: © Kyndell Harkness/Minneapolis Star Tribune/

Firstly, we have friends and family members in same-sex marriages or relationships, depending on what the laws of their state will allow. We love and support these stable, loving, devoted couples.

Secondly, any laws or movements or bills that in effect will limit people's personal rights and choices, regardless of how it is presented in the bill or movement or law, gets my dander up and puts me on the defensive.

This morning we explained to the Darling Boys what had gone on in our state capital last night. We explained that we support people to make their own choices about whom to love and to define for themselves what family looks like so far as these choices do not harm or endanger others {as is the case with any right afforded anyone}.

We asked the boys how they would feel if someone told them they couldn't ever wear the color green; or they couldn't be friends with a certain person; or they had to go to a different school than the one we have chosen because the government thought another school was a better choice. The boys reported they would be sad and would not like that. They thought they should be free to make those decisions for themselves. We agree.

The People of Minnesota

Many of those who voted for this bill, cowardly and slyly passed it off as being something the people of Minnesota should decide. To my knowledge, the people of Minnesota did not ask to decide the question. The people in my part of Minnesota happily live side by side with same-sex couples; attend church with same-sex couples, send their kids to school with kids with same-sex parents and have dinner with friends who happen to be same-sex couples.

As the insightful DFL Representative from New Brighton, Kate Knuth, stated she is fearful of the messages of hate that will come to our state and fill our airways and newsprint for the next 18 months. I agree with Rep. Knuth. These messages and campaigns, inspired by fear and hate, are now inevitable in our peaceful, "Minnesota Nice" state. It is this I cannot live with; this that I am fearful of; this that I abhor.

The Scoop

So, those of you who would bring such messages to my state, my city, my neighborhood, know this: the gloves are off; there will be no Minnesota Nice to greet you. Minnesotans are strong, educated, equality-minded people who won't allow their state to be overcome with hate, fear and suspicion.

Minnesotans began organizing a #NoH8MN {No Hate in MN} campaign within minutes of the passage of this bill. There are now Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, websites, and even a march earlier today all meant to combat the fear and hate that this bill represents.

As the fine Representative John Kriesel (R) of Cottage Grove pointed out as he defiantly crossed party lines to vote, in his words, "Hell No!"; we are talking about people. As he reflected about a specific man from Minnesota, who was gay, who was a soldier, who lost his life defending our country, Rep. Kriesel said he could not support a bill that in effect says this man was not good enough to choose who he loved and wanted to marry, but was good enough to send off to war and be killed for our country.

This issue is about people, not religion. This issue is about all of us, regardless of your sexual orientation. This issue is about personal rights and choices. Period.

As if on cue, just minutes after this bill passed with a vote count of 70- 62, the rain began to pour, the lightning strike and the thunder roll. This is about people. Over and out...