On behalf of the four voters in our home, including me, I ask that you vote against this bill for a variety of reasons.Sadly, my expectations of him are low.
First, and not the only reason I could give along this line, I think that children have a right to both a mother and a father. Circumstance already denies many children in our state the opportunity to benefit from the unique gifts a mother and a father can each bring in the raising of a child. This bill proscribes a portion of our population from that right forever.
Second, as a practical matter, same sex civil marriage and religious liberty are incompatible. It is specious to claim the protective provisions for churches and religious organizations in this bill will hold. There is a long track record of such provisions being struck down, or vacated, in other states. There is nothing here to ensure Minnesota will be different.
Finally, you stood in my driveway last fall and told me directly that you do not support the Minnesota Legislature pushing divisive issues; that they should be limiting their attention to working across party lines on solvable issues, particularly regarding the budget and jobs. You said that these other kinds of issues were distractions. This bill is nothing if not one of those divisive issues. If that is in fact a principle of yours, then I should expect nothing but a "Nay" from you today.
The bill has cleared the House, as expected, and will likely be law early next week.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference has issued a statement on the House voting to redefine marriage. In my letter to my state representative I did not address the affect of the law on those who work outside of churches and religious organizations for the simple reason that I do not consider the provisions in the bill to protect religious organizations will be anything but temporary, which makes the case of non-religious workers moot. The MCC statement highlights how this bill would affect those Minnesotans if it were to become law:
The Minnesota Catholic Conference is disappointed that the Minnesota House of Representatives has voted to redefine the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In doing so, it has set in motion a transformation of Minnesota law that will focus on accommodating the desires of adults instead of protecting the best interest of children. This action is an injustice that tears at the fabric of society and will be remembered as such well into the future.Prayer in Defense of Marriage
The bill also poses a serious threat to the religious liberty and conscience rights of Minnesotans. Although some accommodations for clergy and religious organizations were included in the bill, they fail to protect the people in the pew—individuals, non-religious non-profits, and small business owners who maintain the time-honored belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. As legal experts on both sides of this debate have stated, the failure to accommodate the deeply held beliefs of a majority of Minnesotans will result in numerous conflicts that will have to be adjudicated by our courts. We are disappointed that same-sex marriage proponents have vigorously refused to protect the majority of Minnesotans, some of whom will be targeted with lawsuits and complaints if this bill passes.
The Conference is thankful for those Representatives who demonstrated great courage in supporting marriage as only between one man and one woman, as well as the thousands of Minnesotans of all backgrounds who have prayed vigorously and put their lives and hard-earned dollars at work over the last two years to preserve marriage as the foundational unit of society.
God our Father, we give you thanks
for the gift of marriage: the bond of life and love,
and the font of the family.
The love of husband and wife enriches your Church with children,
fills the world with a multitude of spiritual fruitfulness and service,
and is the sign of the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, for his Church.
The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana at the
request of the Blessed Mother. May your Son,
through the intercession of Mary, pour out upon us
a new measure of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
as we join with all people of good will
to promote and protect the unique beauty of marriage.
May your Holy Spirit enlighten our society
to treasure the heroic love of husband and wife,
and guide our leaders to sustain and protect
the singular place of mothers and fathers
in the lives of their children.
Father, we ask that our prayers
be joined to those of the Virgin Mary,
that your Word may transform our service
so as to safeguard the incomparable splendor of marriage.
We ask all these things through Christ our Lord,
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.