If you're one of the half-dozen people who look at this blog regularly, then you know that I've been doing what I can to have conversations with people in order to try and defeat the marriage amendment in Minnesota. Many times now, I've heard the phrase "it's a tough issue" from supporters of the amendment. This puzzles me, because I personally think it's one of the easiest moral questions that I've ever faced. Given the strident rhetoric I have heard from some amendment supporters, it doesn't seem like many of them are actually having much difficulty coming to a decision about how to vote either. Still, I wonder what people who invoke these words mean by them.
Do they mean that it is tough to talk about a cynically-conceived amendment that was meant to divide families, friends, and neighbors? It certainly is challenging to disagree with people and to talk about those disagreements respectfully. Unfortunately, it seems pretty clear that this is what those who drafted the amendment intended.
Are they simply trying to insulate themselves from criticism over the stance they've taken against equality by invoking its complexity? I've felt a few times that I'm being dismissed with these words, as if the speaker was saying, "you just don't understand the intricacies of the issue." It's a bit patronizing, really: I understand what marriage means to me, and what marriage would mean for my family members, friends, and neighbors who are targeted by this amendment.
Is it possible that they mean that it is tough to make a decision that turns real people and real families into collateral damage in a culture war? That makes me sad: there doesn't seem to be any good reason to hurt people, which will ultimately be the result if this amendment passes.
Or do they mean that their conscience is telling them one thing, but their church (or some other authority figure) is telling them another? Now this would be difficult. How does one reconcile one's conscience with one's faith community? I don't have a good answer for that. If you are struggling for this reason, you have my sympathy. Ultimately, only you can decide what is right for you.
Please: Vote No, Minnesota.