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Letter to the Editor: Overcoming Marriage Amendment Fears

Karyn Milos says amendment support rooted in fears about loss of religion—and empathetic conversations are the way around that.

To the Editor:

For more than a year I and thousands of other Minnesotans have been holding conversations about the marriage amendment. We lay out our most rational arguments, citing research in biological as well as social science demonstrating that same-sex orientation is a benign, natural variation in human sexuality. We offer stories of real people who would be hurt by permanently restricting the definition of marriage to exclude same-sex couples.

Many people have been persuaded that voting "no" is the right thing to do. Staunch supporters of the amendment, however, remain unmoved. They are not pondering our rational arguments. They are not empathizing with the hardships and harassment that gay people still endure in many places in our society.

Are they wicked "haters"? In most cases, no.

Where we opponents see the amendment as an attack on human dignity and civil rights, supporters of the amendment see themselves as defenders of what they hold to be an immutable truth: the belief that homosexuality is morally wrong.

Their religious assemblies teach that it is sinful to enter into homosexual relationships, and that this teaching comes from God. Granting legal recognition to homosexual couples, applying the term "marriage" equally, would imply that the religious teaching is not, after all, true.

If this long-standing moral teaching is not true, then what other religious teachings are likewise not true? When one's sense of identity and security in the world is rooted in believing that one's religion is the ultimate source of moral truth, any challenge to that belief feels threatening to that identity and security.

All of our reasoned appeals to science and research and personal experience are of no avail unless we also address the fear that prevents marriage-equality opponents from being open to seeing the evidence, hearing the reasoning, and empathizing with the cost of homophobia in real people's lives.

In order to feel free to question long-held beliefs, we need to feel safe in doing so. We need to shift our center of security from faith in our beliefs about God to faith in God. We can recognize that human perspectives evolve over time as we reflect upon new information, evidence, and experience. We can allow our beliefs to change as our knowledge and understanding changes and still remain connected with that Presence we call "God."

As we take the leap of faith from fear to trust, we open ourselves to not only believing but experiencing that love and compassion are the very essence of God. And we become free to extend that love and compassion to other people, including the ones we once believed to be strangers.

And we are no longer afraid.

 

Sincerely,

Karyn Milos

Heyitsme October 30, 2012 at 09:55 PM
"To be treated with kindness and acceptance. Now, is THAT too much to ask"....that is a TWO way street. Not exclusive to one side or the other. Spitting on anyone is rude.
guy davidson November 03, 2012 at 03:43 AM
I think this school is still taking students for this year... all the liberals please let me know what your kids learn while they are there... Hmmm http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/college-allows-transgender-man-to-expose-himself-to-young-girls.html
mike savick November 03, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Well Guy I'm sure Fox News would always approach the subject with a fair and balanced approach including the GLBT folks who contribute heavily to our community and are in pain because of constant bullying. Of course Rupert Murdock didn't have to go through the immigration process like my grandparents and parents. He got a special bill passed by the republicans to grant him citizenship which he needed to buy and monopolize news media. Republicans got their payback with Fox noise and propaganda. Be sure to thank the Koch brothers who sponsor the "grass roots" tea party with their excessive profits at the gas pump. They own 70% of the refining capacity in Minnesota and the pipelines from Canada and north Dakota that feed the refineries. Largely your meanness is fueled by mental constipation and oral diarrhea.
Joe Carlin November 06, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Donald, you may believe all of that. But then you are making this amendment about your beliefs with absolutely zero respect for the beliefs of others, to the point of using the constitution to make the government to force your beliefs on others. "Activist" judges are merely judges you disagree with. "Stability" of the law is completely absurd, because for that reason we never would have knocked down laws regarding slavery, segregation and other forms of systematic discrimination. "Chaos"? Are you serious? Truth is, the supporters of the amendment don't care about freedom. Already, right here in Minnesota, a teacher was fired simply for mentioning on a private form that she opposed this amendment. The Catholic Church defunded a charity simply for opposing this amendment. And school were indoctrinating children as young as 6 to get their parents to vote for this amendment. And yet you deny that none of any of this has come to pass in Iowa since legalization of marriage equality there. It's not that you want freedom. It's that you want to hoard freedom for yourself and deny it to others. That is the very essence of this amendment, and anyone who wants freedom should definitely vote no!
Joe Carlin November 06, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Lucky for you, if this fails, men and women will still be able to marry!

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