Sometimes, ‘no’ means saying yes — to loveLately, these orange signs have been popping up in yards around Duluth. They proclaim “Vote No” with some smaller text that my middle-aged eyes can’t quite read as I am driving down the road. I am not one to get involved in political debates, since I know that most people have their minds made up before they speak them, and I don’t know enough about the issues to make a valid argument one way or another. The orange signs are just more propaganda.
By: Moriah Erickson, Duluth Budgeteer News
Lately, these orange signs have been popping up in yards around Duluth. They proclaim “Vote No” with some smaller text that my middle-aged eyes can’t quite read as I am driving down the road. I am not one to get involved in political debates, since I know that most people have their minds made up before they speak them, and I don’t know enough about the issues to make a valid argument one way or another. The orange signs are just more propaganda.
Then, one of them popped up in my brother-in-law’s lawn. Upon closer examination, the “Vote No” was in regards to limiting marriage, and in this day and age, I assumed this was in response to the same-sex marriage debate. I wondered if he was simply that small-minded and archaic that he would put something in his yard that openly advertised disgust with homosexuality, but when I considered the sign a bit more, I realized that it was the exact opposite.
It was the wording of the sign that got me.
I think there is a rule somewhere about double-negatives, back in the old fifth-grade English textbook. And yet, this isn’t really a double-negative. It’s just confusing language, and I think that this proposition was intentionally worded in an unclear manner, as many political propositions are, so that the layperson who is voting has no idea what they are voting for or against.
Then, I think about same-sex marriage. Who am I to be able to vote that a man cannot love a man? That a woman cannot love a woman? There are so many unhappy couples in the world (just check the “matter of record” for domestic abuse cases and the ever-rising divorce rate), why not celebrate and reward happy couples?
Same-sex couples have been a part of my life for all my life, and I never really thought about them as anything but married. They have children that they nurture and love, they have jobs and pay their mortgages. But upon further consideration, there are certain benefits to being legally married that these folks cannot reap, which just seems silly.
If one person is committed to another, they deserve all the benefits of being legally joined. It doesn’t matter which restroom they use. It seems that same-sex marriages could be a model for traditional marriages, too, since same-sex couples have to have an understanding going into their unions that it won’t be all sparkles and rainbows, but it will be constant work. Perhaps, with that understanding, traditional marriages would become a little more permanent.
Like any other basic human right, we should be free to love whom we choose, and with that, harvest all the benefit. I’m uncertain who decided we would have to vote on a right so fundamental, but we must be careful which way we vote. Voters must fully understand what they are voting for or against and be aware of wording that is meant to deceive, if our true voices are to be heard.
Moriah Erickson is a writer and respiratory therapist for Essentia Health who lives in Duluth’s Woodland neighborhood with her husband Brian, a self-employed flooring contractor; their voiceless hound dog Huckleberry; and their seven children.