We are at a pivotal point in history. Since Gallup began polling Americans on the subject of recognizing same-sex marriage in 1996, we have seen opposition consistently fall and support consistently rise. In 1996, more than two in three Americans opposed same sex marriage, and fewer than a third were supportive.
Nearly two decades have passed since then, and America is faced with a new reality. More than half of Americans support recognition of same-sex marriages, while opposition is now a minority position. Not being a fan of majoritarian politics, I never use opinion polls to justify political action, but they are useful in demonstrating a public awakening to that which is just. I am co-chair of MacGOP, Macalester’s College Republicans chapter, and I support legislation to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in Minnesota.
I stand with GOP State Sen. Branden Petersen, former State Auditor Pat Anderson and Chairman of Minnesota College Republicans Ryan Lyk in leading Minnesota’s Republican Party forward by advancing the principles of limited government though their support of recognition of same-sex marriages.
I do not disparage the views held by those who oppose same-sex marriage. In fact, there are many whom I call friends that hold this opinion. I have chosen to endorse legislation to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples because I find it more consistent with the conservative principles of liberty and limited government. So long as we give our government the authority to enforce a legal definition of marriage, we cannot allow continued unjust discrimination. Wielding government force to prevent people from marrying those whom they love is not small government. It does not advance the cause of liberty, nor does it imply that we trust people to make their own choices. If we cannot trust people to make their own choices, we hardly have the right to claim personal responsibility as a core principle of this party.
We believe in the right of free association. Many Minnesotans exercise it and demonstrate their love for one another through marriage. If we hold this as a right, we must acknowledge that our legal system, as it stands today, denies this right to many thousands of Minnesota couples. I urge other Republicans to stand up and recognize this point in time as a reflection of the struggle to end institutionalized racial discrimination in the 1960s. That time, Republicans stood up to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, overcoming resistance from Southern Democrats. It is time for my fellow Republicans to avoid embarrassment and join the awakening that America has undergone these past two decades, and join me in supporting marriage equality in Minnesota.