Priscilla Lord Faris
Priscilla Lord Faris

A HIGH PRICE TAG FOR INEQUALITY:

Equality of marriage and its benefits became important to me 20 years ago when our oldest daughter told me she was a lesbian. It took me a while to register what that would mean for her and for me. Up until that time, I had little need to know or really care about the issue. But as with many issues, it takes a personal encounter for it to hit my core of concern. My view of caring how gays and lesbians are treated by society has changed. In my law practice I have represented many clients who have been discriminated against and I know from their stories the pain and humiliation they have experienced. I was concerned that our daughter would experience the same hurtful discrimination like the others I had helped.

There is a lot of talk today about limiting marriage to heterosexual couples in order to keep the institution of marriage safe and strong. In fact, some have gone so far as trying to amend our State Constitution to prevent same sex partners the ability to marry and enjoy the benefits of marriage. Many opponents use religion as their basis for this discrimination. The real danger of writing discrimination of a class of human beings into the Constitution is that it allows some to feel entitled to continue discrimination in ways that are physically and mentally hurtful and unnecessarily demeaning.

I understand that those who are married believe their marriages are in danger, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it appears they are right. The marriage rate for 2009 was 6.8% of the population and the divorce rate was 3.4% of the population. I agree, fifty percent is too high. But, how will depriving same sex couples from marriage make the institution of marriage stronger? Certainly it will not stop the celebs from marrying multiple times or Kim Kardashian from making $72 million in her 72 day marriage.

Over the years our government has developed a boatload of legal benefits limited to those who are married. Most of the benefits are financial such as being able to file joint returns, receive family tax deductions, and obtain special treatment when your spouse passes away by the elimination of the estate tax and gift tax on all property left to you. You may choose to create a trust in order to leave your assets to your spouse upon your passing. In addition, if you are married, you are entitled to receive social security benefits, Medicare benefits, an/or disability benefits from your spouse's earnings. This is especially important if your spouse has been the primary bread winner and you have chosen to work without wages in the home caring for the family.

Other benefits would include obtaining health insurance coverage for your family through your employer, and worker compensation if your spouse is killed on the job. If your spouse is incapacitated, and unable to make decisions, the other spouse can step in and guide medical care. A spouse is eligible for Family Leave if the other spouse is ill and needs care. You have the legal right to make funeral decisions for your spouse. You and your spouse are allowed to adopt and if you should divorce, by law you are entitled to a fair division of property. If your spouse should be injured or killed by the negligence of another you have the right to sue as the surviving spouse.

There are also social benefits of marriage that provide family and community stability such as, sharing mutual friendships, values, children and religious beliefs. Monogamy is strongly supported. If marriage is so special why deprive same sex partners of all the advantages? Will depriving same sex couples these valuable benefits really lower the divorce rate or make heterosexual marriage safer?

This does not seem fair for our daughter who is in a committed relationship with her partner and caring for a six year old child. Both she and her partner are responsible, tax paying citizens working very hard at their individual jobs. They are funny, creative, loving people. But when I think of all the financial and social benefits they are denied, it makes me sad. I think depriving our daughter and her partner of these valuable benefits is just an excuse to discriminate and exclude in the name of religion.

Written by a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and lawyer, Priscilla Lord Faris

Chris Kluwe Minnesota Vikings
Chris Kluwe

Dear Minnesotans,

For seven years I've had the privilege to play professional football in the state of ten thousand lakes, and the time I've been able to spend here has been wonderful.

Unfortunately, now there's something happening that's not quite so wonderful; in fact, it's actually fairly despicable. I'm speaking of the Marriage Amendment that's due to be voted on in November of this year, an amendment that promotes nothing but discrimination and prejudice against a significant subset of our population.

Click here to donate – your contribution will go directly into media including TV, Radio and Digital efforts to help protect our constitution and the rights for all couples to marry in Minnesota.

Gay people are not monsters. They're everyday people just like you and I, with all that entails. Gays and lesbians hold jobs, they go out to parties, they even watch football (you've probably sat next to several at a game and were entirely unable to tell the difference). They dress their children in the morning for school, go to church, and even fight over the remote. Sadly, gay people are still forbidden the basic civil and relationship rights of marriage that heterosexuals enjoy, and this amendment would carve that into stone for perpetuity.

Who are we to say what others should be able to do in their lives? Who are we to determine the happiness of two people that love each other, cherish each other, and just happen to be of the same sex? Who are we to forever discriminate against future generations by making it law - LAW, the instrument of justice - to promote injustice and inequity?

Click here to donate – your contribution will go directly into media including TV, Radio and Digital efforts to help protect our constitution and the rights for all couples to marry in Minnesota.

For make no mistake, it is definitely an injustice; civil unions and domestic partnerships do not provide the same cultural or legal benefits as marriage - almost 1,200 fewer legal protections and responsibilities from the federal government alone.

So please, join me, and thousands of Minnesotans in saying no to this Marriage Discrimination Amendment, this declaration of intolerance. A world of divisive hate is not the world I want my children (or any children) to grow up in, and I urge you to help me stand fast against the ever encroaching threat of fear and discrimination.

Click here to donate – your contribution will go directly into media including TV, Radio and Digital efforts to help protect our constitution and the rights for all couples to marry in Minnesota.>
Vote NO on the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. Vote no on inequality.

Sincerely,
Chris Kluwe

Trevor Mbakwe
Trevor Mbakwe

Dear Minnesotans and Gopher Nation,

As a Minnesota Gopher Basketball player, I ask for your support on the court, but today I'm writing to ask for your support OFF the court.

My name is Trevor Mbakwe, I play forward for the Minnesota Gophers and I am asking you to stand with me and vote against the constitutional amendment this November, limiting marriage to ONLY be between a man and a woman.

This proposed amendment would permanently ADD in discrimination to our states constitution. This feels like taking a step back in time, it's 2012, and this sort of extreme act is not only un-fair….it's anti-Minnesotan!

By voting NO to this extreme Marriage Amendment, you're sending a message that you support the rights for all loving couples, gay or straight.

This change to our constitution will set in stone, the inability to marry for thousands of friends, family members, neighbors and sports fans right here in Minnesota.

I'm asking you to join me, and other Minnesota Athletes, at the Crooked Pint Thursday September 14th for an awareness-raiser. 100% of the proceeds will go directly towards defeating the amendment in November.

Get on board with the majority of Minnesotans and Gopher Fans by voting NO against this Marriage Discrimination Amendment.

It's the right thing to do!

Sincerely,

Trevor Mbakwe