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Vote no to support love and marriage

In less than four months, Minnesotans will face a proposed Constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry. Voters from across the state will have to decide for themselves what values they hold dear in their families and in their communities, and they will have to consider seriously how passage of this amendment would reflect those values.

As a former public educator and one who still works closely with teachers as a staff member of Education Minnesota, the statewide teachers' union, I value families, and I value fairness, and I value treating all people as I would like to be treated.

As a public school teacher, I accepted each and every one of my students no matter their race, gender, religion, social status, economic level or sexual orientation. I created a classroom in which all of my students were welcomed and valued and respected. It did not matter to me if some of my students were gay or lesbian or if they came from homes with two dads or two moms.

Good families and loving homes with parents who are committed to each other are good for kids. Period. And marriage is the most recognized and celebrated public, formal, binding and traditional way for two loving people to say, "I love you, and I want to form a family with you."

Much of my high school English curriculum centered on books that dealt with issues of discrimination. My students were angered when we talked about laws in the past which prevented Japanese-Americans or African-Americans from marrying outside of their races. Today those laws seem ridiculous.

Who has the right in this country to tell someone whom they can and cannot marry? Everyone should have the freedom to get married and have a family with the person they love, no matter if that person is of the same race (or not) or of the same gender (or not). Love is love.

Minnesota is a place of fairness and freedom and treating others as we would like to be treated. I'm voting NO in November on this unfair, ridiculous amendment. I support love, and I support commitment, and I support marriage - for all families. I encourage you to do the same.

Marie Blumhardt