We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
A constitution or other governmental charter is a document that exists to specify the operation of a government--and to ensure the rights of the people governed. The largest debate over the U.S. Bill of Rights was over whether the amendments were needed to protect what should be "natural rights" and whether there was any possibility that the enumeration of rights might be considered to limit citizens' rights to those explicitly granted.
We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution
Yesterday, the Minnesota House voted to put a question on the November 2012 ballot. In a state in which marriage of same-sex couples is already disallowed by law, in a state where judges have already agreed ruled on the issue, voters will be asked whether our constitution should be amended to limit legal recognition of marriage to unions between one man and one woman.
There wasn't a great demand for this legislation. Polls in recent years have shown an upswing in support for gay marriage, and an overall lack of support for this kind of amendment. The only poll showing support for an amendment vote is an anti-gay-marriage group that won't release details on the polling.
The House members who voted for an amendment referendum didn't speak in favor of the amendment. The one who spoke in favor of the referendum said only that he wanted voters to be able to decide the issue.
ARTICLE I BILL OF RIGHTS
Section 1. OBJECT OF GOVERNMENT. Government is instituted for the security, benefit and protection of the people, in whom all political power is inherent, together with the right to alter, modify or reform government whenever required by the public good.
Sec. 2. RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES. No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party has been convicted.
Supporters of the amendment suggest they're trying to "protect" the traditional definition of marriage, something that won't be replaced or altered by extending the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples. They have identified no public good that will be served by the codification of discrimination. They offer reasons to prohibit gays from marrying that are based solely in religious traditions, personal discomfort, and lies about homosexuals. They claim that equality is an equal right to do something that only person wants to do.
No one has offered a reason for this proposed amendment that could outweigh the continued denial of equal rights to citizens who contribute to make our state what it is. Certainly no one has offered a reason to turn our founding documents, the documents that exist to protect our rights, into a barrier to the rights of all our citizens. We cannot let this abuse of our public documents stand.