I’m voting NO on Minnesota’s ballot question on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, of course. For a while I was convinced that regular readers of my blog didn’t need me to itemize the reasons, including but not limited to the appalling notion of discrimination being enshrined into state law. Yuck.
My heterosexual hubby, Matt, and I even had a depressing conversation about how the totally symbolic nature of the amendment fight (for Minnesota already has a state statute banning same-sex marriage) is draining untold millions of dollars from actual, honest-to-gawd, on the ground work that both sides could be doing to achieve a more just society. Catholics and other religious groups are NOT feeding the hungry and healing the sick; lefties like yours truly are NOT fully funding Lambda Legal, the group working on the LGBT rights movement’s version of Brown v. Board of Education.
Instead, an estimated FIFTEEN MILLION SMACKEROOS is going to ad agencies, television studios, lawn sign assemblers, radio announcers, t-shirt printers, leaflet copiers, et cetera. I’ve mentioned that I’m burned out, yes? Cynical, exhausted, ornery, drained, annoyed, jaded, the works?
Last weekend my hardened heart opened up again, and I remembered why I got into this business in the first place: because I love children and care desperately about their physical and mental well-being.
To be specific, I love and care for a child that my regular readers know as Mia. This little girl is as dear to me as my own daughter. I met her only hours after she was born, and I’ll never forget the joy of nuzzling her squishy pink nose and telling her how happy I was to be a part of her life. Nothing activates the protective instinct more than a vulnerable newborn, so tiny and dependent upon loving grown-ups to nurture and protect her.
Mia is a third-grader now, and her vulnerability is different: her parents revealed to me that she has been driven to tears by the barrage of advertising by those who call this a marriage “protection” amendment. Mia cried when she saw strangers on the television tell her that:
- Her family structure is inappropriate at best, aberrant at worst
- Her parents are selfish egotists who shouldn’t have had her in the first place
- Her family is a threat to society
Imagine all of that crap entering your head when YOU were only nine years old. What would YOU do?
You’d probably cry.
This post has been pinging around in my own head for two days, moving from brain to fingers to webpage with great difficulty, for every time I imagine Mia crying, I start welling up. There are fat tear splotches on my keyboard right now, so please forgive any egregious spelling and/or grammar mistakes.
The vote on the amendment tomorrow won’t change any laws. It is symbolic–but what a symbol it would be to a little girl like Mia, a kid being raised by two loving and committed parents who just happen to be women. What a symbol a resounding rejection of this amendment would be to the thousands of Minnesota children who wonder where they fit, not only on the rainbow of queer identity, but in the fabric of our community.
Is there another symbol that could so powerfully represent a cultural shift away from fear and towards love?
I can’t think of one.