Local View: Love -- and lifelong commitment -- belong to us all
On Sept. 5 we celebrated our 59th wedding anniversary. It was an anniversary we certainly will remember because it is not every year you make a television commercial supporting gay and lesbian Minnesotans. For our anniversary this year we decided...
On Sept. 5 we celebrated our 59th wedding anniversary. It was an anniversary we certainly will remember because it is not every year you make a television commercial supporting gay and lesbian Minnesotans. For our anniversary this year we decided to stand with those who want to make the same lifelong commitment we made nearly six decades ago.
When we agreed to make the commercial, we wanted to start a conversation with our neighbors. We knew this would be difficult. We've been having the same conversation with our family for a number of years now.
Our generation did not talk about people who were gay and lesbian; you certainly did not think they should get married.
However, times change.
Most people today know someone or have someone in their family who is gay. Our grandson is gay. We love and support him and believe that he, too, deserves the same love and happiness we have experienced. Over the years we have talked about this issue in our family and thought about the happiness we have had in our marriage. We started to ask ourselves: Why shouldn't others get to enjoy the same love and commitment we have had? We came to realize gay and lesbian couples want to get married for all the same reasons we wanted to in 1953.
Love is love. Shouldn't it belong to everybody? Aren't we all created equal?
Since the commercial came out, we have been so grateful to people who have reached out to us. We heard from a woman who used to babysit our children, from old military buddies and from neighbors we had never talked to about this subject. The same night the commercial came on the air, we got a call from a friend who said, "I want to really thank you ... for doing this." The outpouring of support, love and appreciation from people we know and even complete strangers has been overwhelming and incredible.
We do know there are some people who don't agree with us. That's OK. We understand. People are not used to this idea, and we weren't either. It takes time. We just wanted to tell our story and start a conversation. What we tell people is what we learned from our
59 years of marriage. It is about love. It is about making that lifelong commitment and sharing the responsibility.
That's the story we wanted to share, and we want other Minnesotans to share their stories as well. The people we have talked to say we've made it easier for them to talk about this very important issue. The support we have received tells us Minnesota is ready to be the first state to vote down this type of amendment.
This November, we will vote "no" because we think marriage is so special it should be shared with everyone, including our grandson. Love is love. It belongs to everyone. Our grandson deserves the same chance at happiness, mutual love and commitment that we have had for 59 years.
All Minnesotans deserve that. We hope you will join us and vote "no" this November.
Yvonne and Fred Peterson of Duluth are featured in a commercial paid for by Freedom to Marry and in promotion of gettheconversationstarted. org, a site of the Project 515 Education Campaign. Fred is a U.S. Marine veteran.