Tuesday, July 10, 2012

War of Words: Minnesota for Marriage’s Aversion to Truth

In addition to the religious right’s fight to get an anti-gay amendment passed in Minnesota, there is a second battle, this one over the official title of said amendment.  Two weeks ago Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie renamed the amendment “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples,” much to the chagrin of those that would like to see the amendment passed.

The question I have posed to various groups like the National Organization for Marriage (who is pumping some serious out of state money into Minnesota for Marriage) is this: “what is the specific problem with Secretary Ritchie’s title?”  Unsurprisingly I haven’t received a direct answer, but the organizations involved are trying to direct their ire at what they perceive to be an abuse of power by Secretary Ritchie.  An abuse of power in changing no other language in the amendment other than the title.  Right.

The more likely theory is that the previous title, “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman,” is more positive sounding than the new title.  This is a pretty common tactic of anti-gay groups, to make their cause sound less damning than it actually is.  They’re not stripping rights and status from LGBT couples, they’re protecting marriage.  They’re not archaic and outdated, they’re traditional.  They don’t hate LGBT individuals, they just work as hard as possible to make sure LGBT individuals cannot receive domestic partnership benefits, aren’t protected by anti-discrimination laws, and that their children are taught from a young age that their parents’ relationship is invalid in some way.  (Not italics there, it's just true.)

The fact that Minnesota for Marriage is so uncomfortable calling this amendment what it is shows that on some level they know what they’re doing is wrong.  Otherwise there is no need to “look better.”  And with the rash of LGBT suicides at Anoka still fresh on everyone’s mind, groups like Minnesota for Marriage aren’t looking very good these days.

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