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Invitation to a conversation on gay marriage

In recent days, numerous signs supporting gay marriage in Minnesota have been stolen or vandalized in Morris. This, of course, is a violation of our Constitutional right to free speech as Americans, but it is also an act of incivility that I have rarely seen in Morris. While I am frustrated that some are trampling on our rights as Americans, I am writing this in all sincerity in order to initiate what I hope will be an important conversation.

I genuinely do not understand why so many people oppose gay marriage. I was raised in a Catholic family, and some members of my family believe that contraception is immoral. They believe that it does not respect the sanctity of life, and that those who use contraception, even if they oppose a woman's right to choose, are ultimately anti-life. As conservative as these relatives are, they would never say that the United States should outlaw contraception, because they know that there are many Christian traditions that permit the use of contraception and that the government cannot base its laws on the doctrines of a particular religious tradition, or any religious tradition.

If you are a conservative Christian who happens to be gay, I can understand and respect your decision to not act on your desire to be with someone of the same sex. But there are some Christians who support gay marriage and there are many non-Christians who are gay. Why oppose the rights of those people to love someone of the same sex? We know these gay couples. They are in our town. They go to the Morris Theatre together. They sit in the coffee shop conversing with each other and others. They attend picnics at East Side Park and they contribute to the life of this community as model employees.

As a man with a wife and two children, I am a staunch heterosexual. Therefore, with regard to sexual preference, gays and lesbians are different from me. But as human beings, we share a desire for love and intimacy, for companionship and comfort. Why they should be denied the inalienable rights accorded to me is simply a mystery.

This editorial is not intended as an attack on anyone in this community. I just genuinely want to know how love and marriage between same-sex couples harms the marriages of heterosexuals.

As for those of you who are destroying our signs, I can only say that you have committed an act that makes you, by virtue of our Constitution, un-American.