Faith is not necessary to believe in fairness. There is no requirement for a deity in order for you and I to believe in equality and justice. And there is no need for prayer in order to have a successful, happy marriage. In fact, in the United States today, prayer, faith, deities and religious belief are not necessary to get married in the first place: just as there is no religious test to hold any government position in this country, as guaranteed by Article 6 of our constitution, there is also no requirement to proclaim or hold any faith in order to be married… other than the secular faith in our system of laws. Therefore it is our position within Americans United for Separation of Church and State that laws that impose strictly
religious tradition and—even worse—discrimination on secular ceremonies and events that have no need for them, are unconstitutional. They have no place in a society established on the principle that no person should be made to feel like a second-class citizen because their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are not in line with those who impose the laws.
There are 515 rights and protections guaranteed by law within the State of Minnesota to married couples. There are hundreds more at the Federal level. These rights go from the simple and relatively banal (like the right of a surviving spouse to inherit their spouse’s fishing license) to the powerful and truly heart-rending rights to make medical decisions on behalf of a sick or injured partner who is unable to do so, or the rights to testify against a spouse’s murderer in the sentencing phase of a trial, or the rights to request citizenship for a partner. All of these rights are currently denied to same-sex partners in long-term, committed, loving relationships in Minnesota and across most of the country.
If we believe in fairness, if we believe in justice, if we believe in love, and if we are truly a nation that demands equal rights and protection under the law, then this kind of discrimination has no place in Minnesota’s constitution. I urge you all on this Day of Reason to join us in reaching out to your friends and family to explain to them why it is so necessary to defeat the Marriage Amendment this fall. You already know all this, otherwise you wouldn’t be here today: others do not.
Have the conversation, so that we can celebrate Reason after we vote “No” in November just as much as we are doing today.