Marriage amendment yes voters say children need mother and father

Published 11:12 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Question: Should the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?

Click here for ‘Marriage amendment no voters say don’t place limit on love’

Chuck Darrell can boil down the reasons for voting ‘yes’ on the proposed marriage amendment to one word: children.

“Children need both a mother and a father,” he said.

Darrell is the communications director with Minnesota for Marriage, an advocacy group geared around encouraging voters to support the marriage amendment on Nov. 6. He said he supports it because he knows firsthand what growing up without a stable family is like. Darrell’s parents divorced, and for a while he was raised by a single parent.

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“What we’re talking about is the bedrock of society and the foundation of the family,” he said. “Marriage is in jeopardy in Minnesota.”

While two people of the same sex may love each other, that does not necessarily make a healthy environment for children, he added. Marriage is more than just love and commitment; it inherently includes the potential for children.

Koryn Smith, an Austin resident who teaches online at San Diego Christian College, echoed Darrell’s concerns. Much of today’s culture undermines the strength of the family, and children need their parents to reinforce that.

“I believe that traditional marriage needs to be strengthened,” Smith said, adding that a long-standing biblical mandate on marriage as between a man and a woman should be a modern day reference point.

Gordy Harder, a retired Austin Public Schools teacher, agreed.

“I believe you have to go to a foundation that doesn’t change, and that is the Bible,” Harder said. “Otherwise, my judgment is no better than yours.”

What is socially acceptable at any given time will change, leaving society to continually fumble for rules and morals, he said.

Marriage has never been an institution accorded to same-sex couples, Smith said, and that shouldn’t change now.

“I don’t see it as a civil rights issue,” she said.

Smith said her church believes gay people should keep the rights they have to live, work and get an education, and they shouldn’t be targeted in any way.

“We should love them just like anybody else,” she said.

Harder sees marriage as a concept patented for one man and one woman, and if a similar arrangement was going to be available for same-sex couples, it should be separate.

“If the other side would like to do that, then they should have to use another word,” he said.

In some states where same-sex marriage is legal, those who opposed it have been targeted, Smith said. If Minnesota one day legalizes same-sex marriage, she fears the consequences. She believes there are misconceptions on both sides, and everyone has a right to his or her own opinion.

If the marriage amendment does not pass, Smith worries a group could try to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota and force churches to perform those marriages.

Minnesota for Marriage has focused its phone banking efforts on the consequences of the amendment’s failure to pass, Darrell said.

The organization’s other efforts have included online “marriage minute” videos — short clips sharing stories of wed couples — advertising and speaking in churches. The group has raised about $1.2 million so far, Darrell said.

What voters need to realize, he said, is there is no neutrality on the ballot for the amendment. Those who don’t check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are essentially ‘no’ votes, since the amendment needs a majority of all votes cast, not a majority of votes cast on the amendment.

The amendment will ensure the state’s policy is determined by its people, not by lawyers and judges trying to legalize same-sex marriage like those handling cases in Hennepin County right now, he said.