My Comments on the Same-sex Marriage Bill

Some people have asked about my vote against the same-sex marriage bill. Please find here my comments posted on the Savage Pacer website:

“As a state representative, it is my task to listen to constituents, study issues, and weigh all the arguments when voting on public policy. A few weeks ago there was a vote on the House floor to eliminate the prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales. I do not drink and though I attend Sunday church services, I voted yes on the amendment to eliminate the prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales, for the sake of individual rights and free market competition.

People have asked me why, if I am concerned about individual rights, I voted no on the same-sex marriage bill. My answer is I do not believe the same-sex marriage bill provided equal rights for all, but allows adults to choose a same-sex marriage, while children lose the right to have both a father and a mother. Some children do not have both a father and a mother in their life because of a parent’s death or their parents’ decision to divorce, separate, or otherwise not maintain their relationship. However, with the passage of the same-sex marriage bill, future children will now have cause to hold the state of Minnesota responsible for denying them both a father and a mother.

Even though children do not have the right to vote, I believe they have rights that should be considered. Also, I believe it is worth noting, a child’s right to both a father and mother existed before written law.

As a state we have affirmed the importance of children by allocating the greatest share of our budget resources to their education and welfare and historically have given children’s rights preference to those of adults (e.g., Minnesota Statute 518.17).

Recently, a constituent sent me a thoughtful email identifying the American Psychological Association’s (APA) strong assertion regarding the impact of lesbian and gay parenting on children. I followed and read the links he provided, but went further to read an analysis of the cited studies by Dr. Loren Marks entitled, “Same-Sex Parenting and Children’s Outcomes: A Closer Examination of the American Psychological Association’s Brief on Lesbian and Gay Parenting”. Marks wrote regarding his examination, “The conclusion is that strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted.” Please follow this link to review the examination for yourself http://ssrn.com/abstract=1937762 . Deserving attention, though ignored in the APA’s assertion, is the Sarantakos (1996) study’s conclusion, found on page 11 of the above mentioned abstract, “Overall, the study has shown that children of married [heterosexual] couples are more likely to do well at school in academic and social terms, than children of cohabiting and homosexual couples.”

I have had the opportunity to participate in many early learning and early childhood development programs, as well as, listen to Dr. Robert Anda’s presentation on his study of Adverse Childhood Experiences. In addition, I have volunteer thousands of hours, over decades, in serving children. Consequently, I am very concerned about their interests and needs.

Lastly, when the November 6, 2012 marriage amendment was defeated, many wrote or commented to me, that their vote was not an endorsement of same-sex marriage, but a vote against amending the Minnesota Constitution.

After listening to constituents, studying research, and weighing all the arguments, I am compelled to advocate on behalf of children to have both a mother and father, and therefore voted no on the same-sex marriage bill.”