A Word in Edgewise: Think: Then Get Out and Vote


After the landmark Supreme Court Decision June 28, opinions of the Court’s 5-4 ruling pretty much came down on two disparate sides:

Either, “Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country,” (President Barack Obama, speaking on national television from the White House), or, “If we want to get rid of ObamaCare, we’re going to have replace President Obama,” (Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential candidate, who vows, should he win in November, to repeal the law).

Other hot-button issues for Minnesotans—certainly for GLBT citizens—are the amendment to make same-sex marriages illegal in this state, and proposed voter IDs. Of course, there are already laws on the books prohibiting same-sex marriages, but to reinforce discrimination into our state constitution would be a black mark on Minnesota.

Pride has joyously come and gone, and tens of thousands attended: gays, lesbians, bisexual, trans, questioning, allies—the whole spectrum—those participating in the parade (including Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, borne on a motorcycle holding a “Vote NO” Minnesotans United for All Families sign), and those enjoying the crush in Loring Park. But the question is, what percentage of the thousands will actually go to the polls and vote? Donations are great—and needed—but voters in the booths are what will determine the outcome.

It’s clear that the upcoming election will have conflicting pulls and pushes for many individuals, ethnicities, religions, and parties. Some, for example, may want to nix voter ID cards for themselves, but may also want, because of religious or other personal beliefs, to prevent certain fellow citizens from marrying.

Gays and lesbians already can’t marry in Minnesota, and the coming vote won’t change that. What a yes vote will do, is open the door for future and ever more discriminatory constitutional amendments affecting larger and larger segments of Minnesota citizens.

Before casting a vote to change the state constitution to alienate a fair percentage of individuals who constitute family, friends, and coworkers, it would be wise to check and see what laws and restrictions might next target your own Achilles heel.

There is no neat, snappy ending to this piece: that will be a much more complex sentence, authored for posterity by voters on November 6.

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