Sunday, August 5, 2012

Freedom to Marry

Dear Neighbors and friends,
A few weeks ago we read an article in the Atlantic about some folks in Eden Prairie and Minnetonka who were hanging rainbow flags in front of their houses to show support for their gay neighbors, friends and family members, and to demonstrate their intention to VOTE NO on the constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. We were inspired and impressed by the women featured in this article and the church community that they are a part of.
When they first hung their flags, they sent a letter to their neighbors and friends and my letter to you follows that lead. No matter which side of this issue you are on, we are about to enter into what will be an emotional, divisive and brutal political season with this amendment on the ballet. This letter is an attempt to offer an alternative – real connection between those of us who live near each other, including those of us who agree and disagree with each other.
Flying the rainbow flag is not meant to start a confrontation, but rather to start a conversation - a dialogue about the impact of amending our constitution to limit freedoms; a conversation about love, commitment, marriage, and family even though our families don't always look the same.
My family has been fortunate to get to know many gay and lesbian couples in our Jewish community, at work, in our daughters schools, in book group, in our extended family,high school and college friends, and in our neighborhoods. These committed couples are raising children and sharing life’s joys and sorrows with love, commitment and respect just like I do with my wife Susan. I know the tremendous hurt they will suffer if this constitutional amendment were to pass. I know I can’t imagine being told that it is illegal to marry the person I love. I can not imagine what it must be like for our Rabbi's to not be able to legally marry their partners, while at the same time performing marriage ceremonies for opposite sex couples.
I really feel that the measure of a person is on how we have treated other living beings. Have we lived our lives in a way that has helped to lift others up and made the world a better place? If not, what have we done not to damage or make it harder for others to live. There are already over 500 laws in place here in Minnesota that treat same sex and opposite sex couples differently from each other. Prohibiting so many  things that we take for granted, such as having the ability to visit your partner while in the hospital. This amendment will harm and damage the lives of others. My hope is that this will not happen.
I hope in hanging our rainbow flag that I can invite a conversation with my neighbors. If you are not sure how you feel about this amendment, I would be happy to talk with you about it. If you are conflicted on it, then I would encourage you to simply not vote on it at all. And if you are strongly in favor of this amendment and would like to talk me about it, I welcome that conversation as well. I think we can all learn from each other. If you would like to fly a rainbow flag, I can get you one. If you have no interest in flying a flag, but will pledge to vote NO on this amendment, I appreciate your support.
You can go to Minnesotans United for All Families for more information or pledge your support.

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