Words can be so simple and complicated. It’s the meaning and intent behind them that ties up governments and courts for ages. And they get people into trouble. Or cause conflict.

So it’s these words that will probably help to tear the state apart next fall: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

You know that both sides of the issue will spend huge amounts of money to sway voter opinion. So who knows what will be said, what words will be used to help produce votes.

I can’t support this, for several reasons. First, there’s a something about this that really nags at me: of all constitutional amendments, how many specifically exclude a group of people from doing something? Now I know that the wording here has been carefully crafted so it doesn’t sound that way, but just look at the sentence. It specifically defines marriage, which also specifically excludes those groups not named from being able to marry. So again: where else in the constitutions of the state of the nation do we exclude people from being able to do things? I can’t think of any. So why start now?

Then there’s the argument about it weakening marriage for the rest of us…Or weakening it in general. Frankly, I’d think we’d want more married couples in our society, regardless of whether they’re gay or straight. Because there have been scores of studies to suggest that a healthy family is better for children and society as a whole than single parents or broken homes. And secondly, doesn’t divorce weaken marriage? And how many of the neocons have been married and divorced? Perhaps even multiple times? If marriage is so sacred as to allow you to prevent people from marrying, isn’t it also so sacred as to prevent you from getting out of yours?

Thirdly, when I got married, I didn’t think about the rest of the world and how my marriage would strengthen or weaken the “institution.” I was pledging my love to a woman I dearly love and pledging it in front of hundreds of our friends and family. And we signed a piece of paper the state gave us to make it all legal because we paid them the fee for the license. Honestly, nothing that day either strengthened or weakened marriage.

And finally, there’s the tax issue: if there is such a thing as the “marriage penalty” in income tax filing, wouldn’t we want another group of people to pay those extra taxes?

Okay. The last one is probably just silly…

See you tomorrow.