To the Editor:
I'd like to offer some words on an area of social concern and that is the Marriage Amendment which will face Minnesota voters on the November ballot. The ballot Amendment will read, "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman be valid or recognized as marriage in Minnesota?" Interesting to its composition, to not vote on one's ballot constitutes a no vote. What the Marriage Amendment does not do is make this an issue of same sex attractions. I know, and maybe you do too, of people with same sex attractions. They are to be treated with dignity and respect. It is the prayer of the Church that people with same sex attractions develop chaste friendships and live a virtuous style of life.
The issue of the Marriage Amendment is defining marriage. Two competing schools of thought are at work. One definition would define marriage as the union of two people regardless of gender. The other definition, contained in the proposed Amendment, defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Thirty-one times a similar Marriage Amendment has been voted on within states in the United States and all thirty-one times the Amendment has passed. A Marriage Amendment vote will take place in November not only in Minnesota but also in Maine, Maryland, and the state of Washington. Our prayers are with the people of these states!
Why is the Amendment necessary? Passage of the Marriage Amendment ensures that the people of Minnesota and not judges or politicians will decide how our state will define marriage. Without the Amendment in our Constitution, judges and politicians are enabled the power in defining marriage. An Amendment ensures that if marriage is to be redefined in the future, they must receive the approval of Minnesota voters to do so.
Why has virtually every society defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman? The gift of what a man and a woman bring to each other and to marriage, and it is only through that union that there can be openness to life - the procreation of children. Studies prove that children become stronger psychologically, physically, and spiritually in the presence of a mother and a father, especially a married mother and father. Sacred Scripture and Church teaching teach what was present from the beginning. Genesis 1 and 2 read, "God made them male and female, male and female He created them and for this reason a man and a woman leave father and mother and the two become one."
It is up to Minnesotans - only one definition of marriage can exist. In this, we must stand strong in November by stating that marriage is between one man and one woman!
Father Peter Schuster
Pastor of Saint John Vianney and Holy Family Catholic Church