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Opinion

Minnesotans should defeat marriage amendment

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September 20, 2012

It’s amazing to think that this November the United States of America could be under the leadership of a new president.

While the presidential race is what local media outlets are choosing to focus on, the candidates are not all that Minnesota residents will be voting on this November.

When Minnesotans go to the polls this fall, a proposal to amend the state constitution will also be printed on the ballot.

If passed, this amendment will define marriage in the Minnesota State Constitution as a union between one man and one woman.

The passage of this amendment will mean that homosexual couples will not be permitted to be married in Minnesota and their marriage will not be legally recognized within the state. I realize this column is going to be published and distributed on a university campus in the state of Wisconsin.

However, raising awareness about this issue is important for a number of reasons.

There are a number of Minnesota residents attending UW-River Falls who will be voting on this marriage amendment, and it is crucial that these students know the impact that their vote will have on our state and its citizens.

When two people get married, there are certain rights and freedoms that the couple is granted. Among these rights are the ability to collect your spouse’s social security if he or she passes away, the flexibility to take family or medical leave to care for your spouse if he or she is ill, the right to be included in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program if your spouse is a federal employee and many more.

In addition, there are hundreds of tax provisions that take marital status into account in order to reduce the amount of money that married citizens pay in taxes.

In states where same-sex marriage is illegal these rights are refused to homosexual citizens and their domestic partners. If the marriage amendment passes in the state of Minnesota this November, homosexuals within the state will not only be denied the right to marry, but also the ability to have the same rights and freedoms that come as a result of being married.

To deny any American citizen the right to marry someone he or she loves is to completely discount the values that the United States was founded on.

Not only are these people denied the freedom to marry the person of their choice, but they are also denied basic rights that heterosexuals who choose to marry are provided with. This blatant discrimination is clearly an overstep of the boundaries of American government and this injustice needs to be stopped before it is too late.

The most obvious way for Minnesotans to take action is to vote against the marriage amendment this fall. However, apart from voting “no,” there are a number of ways you can get involved and raise awareness about this issue.

Minnesotans United for All Families is a nonprofit coalition of organizations and community/business leaders that believes in the power of marriage and creating a positive environment where citizens can thrive.

In order to raise awareness about the marriage amendment, this nonprofit coalition started the Vote No Movement.

To get involved in this movement you can visit the Minnesotans United website at www. mnunited.org, and here you can purchase Vote No merchandise, make donations and sign up to volunteer in a variety of different ways.

This fall Minnesotans have the opportunity to call for social change and set a standard for other states in the union. By voting no on the marriage amendment and raising awareness about the issue of same-sex marriage, you are choosing to preserve the values that are at our nation’s core: freedom and equality.

Morgan Stippel is a political science major and a professional writing minor. When she graduates from UW-River Falls, she wants to become a state prosecutor and specialize in domestic violence cases.