To the editor:
Homosexuality is an enduring pattern or disposition of attraction to the same sex, and falls entirely within the normal spectrum of human sexuality. It would be akin to the color of one's eyes or skin, and just as impossible to change.
A marriage is, and has always been, a legal/contractual agreement.
Anyone who has decided to vote " Yes" on the marriage amendment should consider the following:
1. The current existing Minnesota Statute still holds that marriage is between one man and one woman. A " Yes" vote does not change that, and is therefore not necessary.
2. Since a marriage is a legal contract, it has no place on a ballot.
This legal contract automatically gives a couple several important rights, involving ownership of property, inheritance, adoption, and the right to be legal next of kin in medical decision making.
3. Objection to same-sex is almost always based on ignorance, and religious bigotry. Many fallacious "arguments" are put forth, such as:
"A marriage is meant to produce children, and this is not possible in a same sex union. "
If this were the case, the marriage of a heterosexual couple that chose not to or cannot have children should not be recognized. A man and a woman who want to marry should be forced to have tests to prove they are fertile before a marriage license is issued, and a death row inmate who has no chance of consummating his or her marriage should not be allowed to marry.
" Once we allow gay marriage, we will be on the slippery slope to polygamy/people wanting to marry their pets, etc."
The issue at hand is, and has always been, the union of two consenting adults who love each other and want equal legal rights. Rational people can agree that one's parakeet or Fido would not qualify.
" Families/the children will suffer."
There is absolutely no evidence that children raised by a same- sex couple fare worse that those raised by a heterosexual couple. There is no evidence that heterosexuals are leaving their marriages in droves and entering same-sex marriages in states where same-sex marriages have been legalized.
4. Discrimination against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, which includes attempts to deny them their same legal rights as other citizens, is anti-humanity and anti-family, and un-American. It puts tremendous amounts of totally unnecessary stress on these individuals, and increases the risk of mental health problems, and even suicide attempts. It tears families apart.
While the exact percentage is not known, it is possible that anywhere from 2 to 10 percent of the US population falls in the LGBT category. And that is quite a few people right here in New Ulm.
It is easy to sustain anti-gay bigotry by painting a parody of a " gay lifestyle". The reality is that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are people you meet and interact with every day. They are your coworkers, your local business owners and your health-care providers. They may be your siblings, children, grandchildren, or future generations. They may be that tormented child who is already being bullied in school about his or her sexuality, and who is now wondering why those nice neighbors who hand out candy every Halloween have that " Yes" sign on their lawn.
Discrimination against gays, lesbian and bisexuals produces real suffering.
5. Besmirching gays, lesbians and bisexuals as "sinners" and pedophiles is false and ridiculous. There is really no good secular and fair argument against same-sex marriage.
6. People who oppose same-sex marriage also need to be aware that one of the most prominent supporters of this issue is the US Military.
Nowhere in Ms. Ringhofer's letter did I read that she was questioning the right of anyone to post a " Yes" lawn sign, or even to vote " Yes" on the Marriage Amendment. She was simply pointing out the bigoted and painful nature of the message. And she is right.