Opinion: Constitutional ban on gay marriage is a necessity

Published 11:29 am Monday, May 23, 2011

The Minnesota Senate has voted to send to voters an amendment to the state constitution to integrate the current state law banning same-sex marriage. If the House also approves (not decided as of this writing), next year the people of Minnesota will be given the opportunity to vote to amend the constitution.

Although it is exceedingly serious to amend the constitution and doing so is an extreme procedure, those who oppose this amendment actually demonstrate its necessity.

Let’s be clear. This proposed amendment will not initiate a ban on same-sex marriage, because this has been on the books for 34 years. The referendum would do no more than include it in the constitution. The referendum would not create or impose a ban on same-sex marriage—such is already and currently banned.

But the thrust of the campaign to deny voters our vote to decide the matter strongly and clearly claims civil rights would be taken away from gays. It will not, because they just do not have this as a right. Nothing would be taken away from them, because they do not have it and never have had it and should never gain it.

Gays would not be denied such as a right, because they have never been given this as a right. They have not been given this as a right, because the state has always understood that allowing same-sex marriage just is not and has never been a right. It s not understood to be a civil right precisely because it has never met the definition of a civil right. To claim same-sex marriage to be a right is not only to change the definition of marriage but also to change the definition of civil rights.

Marriage of siblings and cousins is not a civil right, and law prohibits any such attempt. So, too, is it not a civil right for a parent to marry his or her child whether same-sex or other-sex. So, too, is marrying a minor not a civil right. All this is also illegal and has always been.

The almost ubiquitous slogan by gays is, “You won’t allow me to marry the person I love.” Perhaps so, but this is the purpose neither of existing law nor the proposed amendment. Some children suffer a pathological fixation on a parent and assert such incest to be “love.” So, too, has this been claimed between cousins, siblings, and with minors.

The existing law is and an amendment would be discriminatory in regard to gays, to be sure. Just as it is for all the above. All laws are discriminatory against people who violate them.

One of the more egregious attacks against the proposed amendment is by the Star Tribune. Last Friday its first-page, above the fold, column one headline read “Support falls for ban on gay marriage.” This is false. This is dishonest reporting.

Even the article under this false headline betrays its falsehood. The paper conducted a telephone survey of less than a thousand of the state’s 5m citizens, which is .0001 percent—hardly representative. Of this small random sampling slightly over half (55 percent) said they oppose not a ban on same-sex marriage but the proposed amendment. The paper never asked those phoned individuals if they oppose the present law that already bans same-sex marriage. The paper also didn’t admit it chose not to ask this critical question. This is a serious violation of journalistic ethics as well as disrespect for readers.

The argument against an amendment that comes closest to being valid is that same-sex marriage already being illegal obviates the need for an amendment. I have here opposed other constitutional amendment proposals as being over-kill when a law already makes the provision. It should be unnecessary, but in this particular case it is demonstrated as eminently necessary.

This, too, is a principal argument of the proposal’s opponents—but seriously disingenuous. This assertion is not only argued by the opponents, but they themselves eloquently demonstrate an amendment’s necessity.

For instance, a prominent Democrat state senator from Willmar publicly claimed that members of the state supreme court had assured him that they would never find the law unconstitutional. He lied, but attempted to excuse this as “sanding off the truth.”

It has always been the political strategy of gay activists to change laws and society incrementally. First defeat a constitutional amendment, then claim existing law to be unconstitutional, then legalize same-sex marriage, then denigrate heterosexual marriage, and then …

The Minnesota House should agree to let voters decide. Voters should approve the amendment. What will be saved is not “traditional” marriage, but actual marriage.