A Waiting Game, 2012

EthanBoatner

With an early deadline for this Edgewise, I don’t yet know whether to break open the bubbly or cry in my beer.

Will “NO” have won the day, or will “YES” tell the world that a majority of Minnesotans have voted that discrimination should be written into the very fabric of our state constitution—that their gay friends, relatives, coworkers, and neighbors will be denied the rights (515 state and some 1,100 Federal) that they themselves enjoy? They will have chosen YES even though gay Minnesotans already cannot marry.

A recent article I read chided those for whom, they asserted, GLBT issues were the highest or only priority. I don’t know anyone who has been concerned solely by GLBT issues this year, but it would be a mistake for straights or gays to believe that GLBT “issues” are not, in fact, of great concern, and that they will continue to be so.

For whether NO or YES has prevailed, Minnesotans of the same sex or gender cannot marry, and this becomes not merely a “GLBT issue,” but a civil rights issue, and yes, it involves the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of religion. While some churches bewail the loss of their religious rights, they have funneled millions of (untaxed) dollars into denying marriage to others, steamrolling over individuals and churches whose beliefs embrace all citizens, churches that already marry same-sex couples, and individuals whose spiritual path espouses equality and love for all.

This implacable determination of some to deny others the rights they themselves enjoy is an intensely American, not sexual, issue, and it is not going to go away.

When I was first able to vote (1964), Loving vs. Virginia (1967) had not been heard, and miscegenation laws were still on the books; no one outside of Greenwich Village knew of the Stonewall Inn until 1969, and the idea of homos having any rights at all was not on the horizon.

Huge strides have been made since then, and today (despite the efforts of the ubiquitous Frank Schubert, the Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, and a myriad others) things continue to change, and will, step by step, until all Minnesotans—all Americans—have equal rights.

This is my belief—it’s protected by the First Amendment.

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