Tonight at 6:45pm, May 1, the Golden Valley City Council voted to pass a resolution opposing the “Marriage Amendment” to the MN constitution which seeks to effectively ban same-sex marriage in the state. The resolution states “the proposed amendment would be contrary to the purpose of our State Constitution to protect the rights, privileges and freedom of conscience of all citizens by withholding from some individuals and families important legal rights and obligations”. With a vote of 4 yeses and 1 abstention, the resolution passed making Golden Valley the 7th city in MN to take a public position on the amendment.
Mayor Shep Harris acknowledged the Minnesota Chapter of LCR for our letter of support for the resolution and for attending the meeting. He thanked us for providing a viewpoint that made him feel more comfortable about his vote.
Council member Mike Freiberg, who proposed the resolution, gave a speech in which he acknowledged that the council members are sworn to uphold the constitution, but above all, they are a body that must stand by what is right, and that includes accepting all of their citizens and supporting their freedoms. Council member Freiberg echoed Mayor Harris by pointing out that Golden Valley has the largest GLBT population for a city that size in the state and that the council should support all families. Council member Dede Scanlon abstained from voting and made it a point to say the council should not take a position.
The letter of support presented to the council is below:
We are writing to you to ask your support of a resolution placed before the Golden Valley City Council, opposing the MN constitutional Marriage Amendment banning same sex marriage. Log Cabin Republicans of Minnesota is comprised of Republicans who support the equal treatment for gays and lesbians, and works to build bridges and coalitions between the Party and GLBT conservatives.
We understand that on Tuesday May 1, 2012, the Golden Valley City Council may take a position against the so-called Minnesota Marriage Amendment that will be on the General Election Ballot in November. We applaud your support because, as Republicans, we think that the Amendment is a hurtful and harmful misuse of the Minnesota Constitution.
As conservatives we advocate for individual responsibility and freedom and a smaller government, which allows for people to make their own personal choices and maintain more control over their own lives. We believe that the best social welfare program is a strong and supportive family structure. We do not support an Amendment that says that some people will not be allowed to form a family, or that their family will not be deemed valid by the State. This would be hypocritical, unfair, and cruel. A position of banning same sex marriage is counterproductive for society, which has proven to benefit greatly from allowing and encouraging all of its members to make mutual long-term stable commitments.
The history of the previously proposed Defense of Marriage Amendments in MN indicates that its supporters do want to prevent cities from offering domestic partnership status (currently offered in Golden Valley) and domestic partner benefits to its employees who are in same sex relationships. Previous versions of the Amendment have explicitly forbid any “legal equivalents” to marriage, such as domestic partnerships and civil unions. We believe that the supporters of this current amendment strategically lowered their objectives to get it passed, and that they will continue to seek bans on domestic unions. This would ultimately infringe on the right and prerogative of the City of Golden Valley to have the choice to someday provide such benefits to its own employees and manage its own workforce. As a city council, your role is to set policies that encourage a healthy business and work climate, safe neighborhoods, and a welcoming environment for all of your citizens. Some argue that it is not the City’s place to take a stand on this Amendment, but to the contrary, it is the City’s place (and the intent of the State Constitution) to expand and protect rights, privileges, and freedoms for all of its citizens, not to withhold or constrict very important legal rights from some individuals and families.
We hope you will decide to come out against this Amendment. With the support of fair-minded people, organizations and governments throughout the state, hopefully we will be able to ensure that Minnesota becomes a more tolerant and accepting state that encourages loving commitments for all of its residents.
We thank the council for their time and efforts and for supporting the citizens of their community!