A proud day for DuluthOn Dec. 19, the Duluth City Council did itself proud and made me proud to be a Duluthian. The council passed, 6 votes to 2 votes with Stauber and Fedora opposed, a resolution against the proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution which would ban same-sex marriage.
By: Tammy Francois, Duluth Budgeteer News
On Dec. 19, the Duluth City Council did itself proud and made me proud to be a Duluthian. The council passed, 6 votes to 2 votes with Stauber and Fedora opposed, a resolution against the proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution which would ban same-sex marriage. Minnesotans will be asked to weigh in on this issue in November in the form of a referendum.
On Jan. 1, same-sex marriage became legal in two more states, Hawaii and Delaware. Pictures of happy couples, some who had waited decades to marry, were published on Facebook and featured on online news sites.
It’s gratifying to see more and more states and communities recognizing that fear and prejudice must be set aside to ensure that all people have the same rights under the law. I hope Minnesota will be among the next states to do so.
I have seen and heard the arguments in favor of the amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. I know the rationale supporting the arguments. But here’s the thing: Laws do not exist to allow anyone to impose religious doctrine on others. Laws exist to protect the rights of everyone equally and to hold people accountable for trampling the rights of others.
Granted, as a nation we have a long way to go before we can say we have achieved this lofty goal, but we can’t stop striving to reach it. Nobody wins unless everybody wins, folks.
We all live by a code that governs our actions and shapes our attitudes, and we are fortunate to live in a country where we place tremendous value on the rights of individuals to do so, as long as doing so does not involve legitimate harm or threat to another.
But it seems we have had to learn this lesson the hard way. For example, slavery was not made illegal in every state until 1865, and it wasn't until 1920 that women got the right to vote. Most of us look back on the times before those laws were passed and shake our heads.
What could people have been thinking? Why did it take so long to realize that a human being is a human being — we’re not all exactly the same, we don't all share the same beliefs, but we all love, we all hurt, we all hope and we all just want to live our lives. It's so simple, but we have managed to make it so difficult.
It is my belief that we will look back on these decades of wrangling over same-sex marriage and the discrimination against our friends, neighbors and loved ones in the LGBTQ community and wonder why we allowed the discrimination to continue. It will just seem ridiculous.
Now is the time to make the decision. Vote against the proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. This is our chance to take one more step toward a Minnesota that values every citizen's rights.
Tammy Francois is a peace and justice activist and writer living in Duluth.