In Minnesota, we are voting next week on an amendment to our state constitution. It would enshrine in that document that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
In my opinion, irrespective of your views on marriage - this is not something that ought to be put into our constitution. Yet, those who know me are aware that I do believe all of us - irrespective of our sexual orientation - ought to have the right to a lifetime, legal relationship with the adult that they love.
My late uncle bachelor farmer had a bachelor farmer pal, whom I'll call Bob. My uncle and Bob were the best of friends for more than 50 years. Every winter, when no work could be done on their farms, the two took long road trips and saw America. When they got too old to farm, they traveled more. When they got too old to travel and live alone on their farms, they acquired adjacent rooms at the nursing home in town. They died within months of each other at that home.
My late bachelor farmer uncle and his friend Bob were a beautiful gay love story.
Over the years, as everyone in our family grew to understand the true nature of the relationship, we were thrilled for my late uncle. In his lifetime, there was no possibility of "coming out" out there, on the edge of the prairie. My late uncle lived the best life he could under the societal norms of rural, small-town Minnesota in the 20th century.
When he died, our family took great comfort in the knowledge that he had Bob in his life for all those years. Maybe living alone in the farmhouse wasn't so lonely after all. Bully for both of them.
I'm voting "no" for my late uncle, and for all the bachelor farmers who may have been or are gay.
The present? I have a cousin -- make that two cousins -- who are lesbians. I am happy for them, because this is a different time. Unlike my uncle, they get to live their lives openly as who they are, and publicly acknowledge the partners they love. I have gay and lesbian friends who are like family. Some of them work harder at their marriages than most of the heterosexual couples I know.
I'm voting no for them.
My life has been and will continue to be greatly enriched by having family and friends who happen to be gay or lesbian.
And because of that, in the end, I'm voting no for me.