In 1943, when my parents got married, my mother, who was Lutheran, had to become Catholic and promise to raise her children as Catholic before the priest would agree to marry her and my father.
Then, as now, a church could refuse to marry any couple for whatever reason they saw fit. But when my parents went to the courthouse to get their marriage license, the clerk behind the counter, a representative of the government, could not refuse to grant them a license because he didn’t think they were the right kind of couple to marry.
If my parents had asked a judge to marry them, he would not have been allowed to judge them based on whether he felt they should be able to marry. This is the difference between civil and religious marriage.
This November Minnesotans will vote on an amendment that would limit the freedom to marry. No church can ever be required to marry people they don’t choose to marry, but if the anti-marriage amendment passes, churches that want to marry same sex couples would not be allowed to. This hurtful amendment would impose the beliefs of some as the law for all. If my parents had gotten married by a judge, the church would not have recognized it as a valid marriage, but the government would still have accepted and respected their marriage. The civil aspect of marriage and the religious aspect of marriage are separate, and they should remain separate. Vote no on this hurtful amendment. Vote no and leave our constitution the way it is.