The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 7, 2012

Your View: Amendment is bucking tide of history

Barbara Keating, Mankato

— On the wall at his memorial in Washington, D.C., Thomas Jefferson is quoted: “Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.”

"As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and opinions change — institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times." This insight into the importance of progress in human rights and equality under the law applies to same-sex marriage.

Science has thoroughly debunked the medieval superstitions, stereotypes and accusations used to justify the anti-marriage amendment.

One important, replicated finding, for example, is that children of same-sex parents are in no way disadvantaged when compared to children of heterosexual parents (controlling for background variables like socio-economic status, one or two parents, stability, etc.).

A dozen countries, consequently, have legalized same-sex marriage: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. Nineteen countries recognize same-sex civil unions: Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

A number of these countries are predominately Catholic. In fact, Catholicism is the official state religion in Argentina and the government pays a salary to Catholic bishops. In spite of church opposition, however, the Argentine Congress legalized same-sex marriage in 2010.

Marriage equality is happening state by state in America. Seven states have same-sex marriage; eight have marriage-equivalent civil unions and three provide partial spousal rights. The anti-marriage amendment would push Minnesota to the wrong side of history.