A Word in Edgewise: Talk is Cheap—And Effective


There are less than five months until the November 6 elections. You can say a lot in that time. Talk with friends, family, neighbors; those who don’t mind if same-sex couples marry, but are unaware that without their NO vote on the marriage amendment, discrimination against GLBT people will be written into Minnesota’s constitution.

Actively approach people and conduct conversations in a non-threatening way, simply conveying information, pointing out the importance of action—particularly going to the polls that Tuesday—that complacency can lose a campaign.

I heard someone say, “Homosexuality isn’t a civil right.” No, nor has anyone claimed that, any more than they would that being tall or left-handed is a right. But tall, left-handed Minnesotans have the civil right to vote, to buy real estate, to marry. As do GLBT people—except for the marrying part.

Point out that marriage is a right, and that radical religious groups are using their beliefs to make the government, at state and federal levels, deny other citizens’ rights. Remind them of the 1967 Loving v. Virginia landmark civil rights case where the US Supreme Court unanimously declared the “Racial Integrity Act of 1924,” Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, unconstitutional.

Marriage or ritual bonding in some form is practiced in almost every culture. Marriage brings the participants into the community fold, declaring their intention before friends and relatives, to participate in the rights and obligations of their community. To deny GLBT Minnesotans that right is morally wrong and unconstitutional. If one believes in the First Amendment, then the separation of church and state follows, and denying the right to marry to any segment of the population because of others’ religious beliefs or bias becomes untenable.

Explain that in no way is any church being compelled by the government to marry gays or anyone else they choose to deny—Catholic churches refuse to marry two non-Catholics.

Always remember: there’s talking, and there’s wasting your breath. You won’t convince those who want to put gays and lesbians behind electric fences. Fortunately, there are many folks in the middle, who, if they are not exactly “allies,” are ordinary, decent folk who want to see all Minnesotans be able to marry, raise children, work, and pay taxes as they do.

Start talking.

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