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Equal rights for every citizen

May 25, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

In a thinly veiled attempt to hide discriminating and bullying thoughts behind his convenient interpretation of the Constitution, Mr. Thom attempts to argue that same sex marriage is illegal because it wasn't expressly written in our government's founding laws.

Despite the outrage and anger that is felt when reading such a harassing letter as Mr. Thom's, the reader must instead go back to the truth in order to make a contrary point. Let's review Section II of this same Amendment:

"Section 2.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state."

Male. Male citizens. This document represented the best intelligence of the time - that MALE citizens had the right to vote. Under your argument, Mr. Thom, any female citizen of your acquaintance is not an eligible voter.

Oh wait, but they are. It's called the 19th Amendment. Laws change. Laws evolve. People then hopefully evolve too. There's a reason the Supreme Court exists to interpret the laws written all those many years ago. Where in the Constitution does it expressly say that Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, can get married? It doesn't. Instead, the Virginia Supreme Court decided in 1967 that the state laws not only violated the Equal Protection Clause with regard to race, but that it also violated the Due Process Clause as it related to "the fundamental freedom" of marriage. Does this "fundamental freedom" then stop at the issue of race?

Instead of belaboring this point of Constitutional interpretation, let's instead look at the gross injustice that Mr. Thom's letter reveals. Due to the heightened discussion of this issue, there is a photo circulating on the internet which highlights demonstrations that deny citizens their equal rights. It's a split screen shot: on top is a color photo taken recently of protesting citizens with signs stating: "One Man One Woman For Life;" the bottom shows protesting citizens with signs stating "Race Mixing is Communism," a striking black and white photo taken during the Civil Rights Movement. Printed on the photo is this statement: "Imagine how stupid you'll look in 40 years." While I think calling someone stupid is wrong, it highlights a great point: denying anyone equal treatment is indeed wrong.

Let's evolve. Let's support every citizen's right to marry whom they choose. Because in the end, this isn't about marriage; it's about treating every citizen of this state - this nation - equally. No misinterpreted bible verse or law exists that says that Mr. Thom or I are superior citizens simply because we're straight. Nor does anything exist that says that I am superior to President Obama, simply because I'm white and he's black. He's in fact superior to me because he's the President - a reality unheard of by opponents of the Civil Rights Movement not so very many years ago.

Jennica Date

Vadnais Heights



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