Few issues have galvanized and polarized state voters as much as the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. The amendment on the ballot Nov. 6 would define marriage in the Minnesota Constitution as a union between a man and a woman.
The amendment would prevent the legal recognition of gay marriage through judicial rulings or any legislative action short of passing another amendment. It would set Minnesota in opposition of a trend across the country to recognize marriages between two men or two women.
Currently, gay marriage is not legal in Minnesota. Proponents of this amendment feel it should be the voters, not the courts or the Legisalture, which decides how MInnesota defines marriage.
This is a thorny issue that involves religion, politics, economic issues, societal norms and interpersonal relations.
Proponents want to protect the institution of marriage and prevent what they see as society sliding further into decay.
Gay marriage advocates see it as a civil rights issue, and acceptance of gays and lesbians as people with the same rights as heterosexuals. Gays are tired of discrimination and persecution, of being called perverted, sinful or "disordered."
The pros and cons have been debated forcefully and passionately on this page and elsewhere throughout the state. People of good conscience have written their views and stated their positions for and against.
The Journal has long believed in the traditional view of marriage as the bedrock of society. We have seen this rock being eroded over the years. The damage is coming not so much from gays and lesbians wishing to share the same benefits and recognition of their commitment as heterosexuals, but from heterosexuals who seem to have lost respect for the institution of marriage. More and more people are living together without benefit of marriage. More and more children are being born out of wedlock. And don't get us started on celebrity marriages. Kim Kardashian's 72-day "marriage" to Kris Humphries is just the latest and most egregious example. These issues are not addressed by the amendment.
Be that as it may, the amendment is on the ballot Nov. 6. It is up to the voters to decide the question. We doubt there is anything The Journal can say that will sway someone one way or the other. We hope voters will examine their feelings and beliefs and vote as their conscience dictates.