Today’s Mankato Free Press featured a heart-touching commentary concerning the Marriage Amendment.
Your View: ‘Yes’ sign on amendment hurt
Kevin Swanson, Mankato
I arrived home to see your sign staring at me and my family. Your yard sign pierced through the darkness and cut deep.
I have tried to steel myself against the “Vote Yes” marriage-limiting signs. But, your sign cut to the bone. I will not cry, but it hurts.
You were there over two decades as my children grew. We delivered your newspaper. We helped clear your snow. We were not close, but we were neighbors and I thought we were friends.
You have the freedom to display your sign. Our freedoms make this country great.
My son has fought for those freedoms in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, he was also fighting for his brother’s freedoms, thinking they were the same as your children’s. But, his brother is gay, so those freedoms are denied and it hurts.
Being Minnesotan all my 57 years, I do believe in Minnesota Nice and consider everyone my neighbor. So I have written this letter not just to you, but to all my neighbors. And not just for me, but for all who feel as I do. We all hurt.
If the marriage limiting amendment passes, we will hurt every day. My son, his partner and my grandchildren will not have the freedoms and protections your children and grandchildren have.
So, for my family, I beg that you please consider removing your sign. And maybe, if you can find the compassion in your heart, maybe even consider voting “no” on the marriage-limiting amendment, for us.
It hurts and no one is looking so, maybe I should — yes, maybe I shall — take just one moment and cry.
The mention of American soldiers defending our freedoms reminded me of the television commercial featuring State Representative John Kriesel.
“I was in an incident and I nearly died,” Rep. Kriesel states. “I remember laying there, looking down and seeing my legs mangled. I thought about my family.”
Rep. Kriesel continues, saying how this experience made him realize that those who put their lives on the line protecting freedoms should have the freedom to marry the person they love. He tells the story of Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay solder from Rosemount, Minnesota, who was killed in action in 2011 while serving his country in Afghanistan.
“He gave his life in Afghanistan protecting our freedoms. He was gay. I cannot look at this picture and say, Corporal, you are good enough to fight for your country and give your life, but you are not good enough to marry the person you love,” Rep. Kriesel said.
Voters will weigh in whether to incorporate into the Minnesota Constitution that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman … but voters in the Second District will also have a chance to decide if they wish to return John Kline to Congress to continue his pursuit of a repeal of permitting gays to serve in the military.
A little history here :
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law went into effect in 1993. It allowed gay and lesbian personnel to serve in the military as long as they were not open about their sexual orientation.
On Feb. 2, 2010, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified to that Senate Armed Services Committee that he believed it was time to repeal the law.
Adm. Mullen told the senators: “No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, personally, it comes down to integrity – theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”
On December 15, 2010, the House approved the repeal by a vote of 250-175 with John Kline (R-MN-02) in opposition.
14,317 people were discharged under DADT (November 1993 – July 2011) … but the rules have now been changed.
The repeal is in full effect … gay serve but the battle is not over for John Kline as he is an original sponsor of H.R. 337 the Restore Military Readiness Act of 2011 …
It is estimated that 78,000 bisexuals, lesbians, and gays are serving in the U.S. military today.
41 other nations also allow open military service, regardless of sexual orientation. American soldiers are currently serving in joint missions … such as currently in a $30 Million taxpayer funded joint training exercise with Israel … and Israel in 1993 decided to allow homosexuals to serve openly.
Yet, John Kline advocates for a return to the old days of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
So voters in the Second District have two votes related to gay rights … the Marriage Amendment and whether to return John Kline to Congress to continue his fight.