The Roseville Human Rights Commission is expected to vote tonight (Wednesday, May 16) whether it should pass a resolution opposing the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
The commission's meeting comes on the heels of it holding a public forum last Thursday night, seeking citizen input on whether it should take a stand on the controversial issue.
In case you missed it, here is our original story:
Just a day after President Barack Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage, more than 50 Roseville residents signed up to share their views on the issue with the Human Rights Commission at last week's public forum.
At the public forum, the city hall chamber was packed with more than 70 Roseville residents, most of whom applauded after citizens made statements in support of same-sex marriage.
Mary Walser, a retired professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota, said she has lived in a Roseville home she bought with her partner for 20 years. She said she had been encouraged by legislators who supported marriage equality, such as Sen. John Marty and Rep. Mindy Greiling, to stay hopeful about legal changes but that proposed constitutional amendment has turned her hopes into fears.
“The people of Minnesota are getting to vote about me—not about my veterinary career, not about my good citizenship but about who or who not I may choose to marry,” she said. “Can you think of anything—anything—that is less of the public’s business?
“My partner and I are prepared to leave Minnesota, we are prepared to boycott this state and take our bank accounts elsewhere, our property taxes elsewhere and our community service elsewhere.”
T.W. Held of Roseville, who said he was speaking for the “tens of thousands of families” in Minnesota who oppose same-sex marriage, said that people who take a position other than “one man, one woman” are speaking with “hate speech” against religious beliefs.
“If this amendment were to fail then the human rights, which are guaranteed by the federal constitution and the state constitution, the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, would be attacked,” Held said.
Duane Sanocki described himself a Catholic and said that in his religion “we have raised matrimony to the level of a sacrament.
“Many countries—take Europe, for example—are dying, and they’re dying because they’re not reproducing, and one of the reasons they’re not reproducing is because they’ve dropped marriage from a high level to where it is now,” he said. “I see homosexual marriage as an attack on religion because it’s changing what marriage has been for centuries.”
Dan Johnson-Powers, a firefighter who lives in Roseville, said the argument that same-sex marriage infringes on religious rights did not make sense to him since many religions are accepting of same-sex relationships.
“If we choose to include religion, then who gets to decide which religious beliefs we adhere to?” he said. “If we remove religion from the equation as our national constitution mandates, then the quintessential issue is human rights: Do I, as a gay man, have the same rights as a straight man to marry the person I love and thus participate in all the rights and obligations of a married couple?
Johnson-Powers said he objected to the line of reasoning that states that “gay marriage threatens the sanctity of the state of matrimony.”
“My commitment to my partner will in no way denigrate my heterosexual neighbours’ commitment to each other,” he said.