A letter to some senators

Dear Senators,

Last week, I helped convince a friend of mine that he should move to Minnesota. He had two job offers he was deciding between, and I was very vocal about my belief that Minnesota was the place he should choose to live.  My friend is an incredibly intelligent and accomplished person, who has been offered a post-doctorate research fellow position at the University of Minnesota.  He will be an asset to the University and to the community when he lives here.  I convinced him to come here by telling him what an amazing place Minnesota is – how vibrant our cities are, how beautiful our wilderness is, how open and welcoming Minnesotans are.  I told him that even though I grew up here, I chose to live here as an adult because I believe so strongly in how great this place is.

The problem is, now you have made me a liar.

Because this past Wednesday, your vote on the Gay Marriage Amendment told my friend that in fact, he was not welcome in Minnesota.

Because he is gay.

Were my friend to live in Minnesota, he would have a mortgage.  He would pay property taxes.  He would buy gas and groceries, and eat at local restaurants and shop at local businesses and attend local cultural events.  He would be a contributing member to the great communities we have built in this state.

But your vote has told him that you don’t want his property taxes, his sales tax, his contribution to increasing the intellectual capital of our community and to making our great University even better.  You have told him that even if he does live here, and have that job and mortgage and pay his taxes, he is still less of a citizen than the other 90% of us.  You have told him this simply because you do not approve of who he may choose to go on a date with some day.

Marriage does not need protection.  Marriage is not in danger.  There is not one shred of evidence that allowing same-sex couples the same civil rights as heterosexual couples in any way harms marriage. 

However, our economy does need protection.  So do our jobs and our communities and our small business owners.  We have elected you to help solve these real problems, which real people are suffering with every day.  Minnesota deserves better.

Minnesota needs people like my friend to live here.  My friend is good enough for Minnesota.  I just hope we can be good enough for him.

Liz Neerland