Letter: Vote ‘No’ on marriage amendmentI must respond to Patricia Chenier’s letter about the marriage amendment. While I could spend time counter-arguing each of her points, I think what it really comes down to is this: children are certainly a major focus of many marriages, but children are the result of a love and commitment two adults build.
To the editor,
I must respond to Patricia Chenier’s letter about the marriage amendment. While I could spend time counter-arguing each of her points, I think what it really comes down to is this: children are certainly a major focus of many marriages, but children are the result of a love and commitment two adults build.
By claiming that marriage should be centered primarily on a “procreative union” rather than romantic affection, Chenier implies that infertile couples, couples who married past childbearing age, and couples who simply decided not to have children that their heterosexual marriages are less meaningful. For all these people, marriage already has a definition that does not necessarily include child-rearing. It is, rather, their love and commitment that defines the meaning of their marriage.
There are already gay and lesbian couples in Hastings and across Minnesota raising children. While I agree with Chenier that two-parent families provide the most stability for children, studies overall suggest that it is the stability of two committed parents, regardless of sex, that is the most beneficial for children. Many studies that claim to show that “children need a mother and father” are comparing married couples to single-parent families, rather than same-sex couples. (For an in-depth overview of these studies, I suggest the article “How does the Gender of Parents Matter” in the Journal of Marriage and Family).
I recently proposed to my wonderful partner. We believe in the institution of marriage as a powerful social force, even in the face of those who would outlaw our commitment.
I don’t know if we will have children. I do know that as we start to make our marriage plans, we must consider obstacles straight couples never have to. We must consider which states will allow us to visit each other in an emergency room, to receive our Social Security benefits someday, to receive health insurance or to use medical leave to care for one another as spouses. While these obstacles are heartbreaking, perhaps the greatest of all is that marriage is, to me, a social contract promising to love, support, and create a family with a life partner. I want to create a family – yet the same people who advocate marriage as the foundation of American society are the ones who want to keep me from strengthening that foundation.
I am proud to call myself a Hastings and Minnesota native, but it’s difficult to imagine settling down in a state that would go out of its way to deny me the opportunity to contribute to society as a member of a family. If marriage can also be (and indeed already is) about a lifelong commitment and love without the necessary presence of children, what argument is there to deny same-sex partners from this definition? Please consider voting “No” on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. Vote to let people make families based on love.