By John and Kim Canny
John and Kim Canny live in Savage, Minn., and appear in a Minnesotans United for All Families television ad encouraging Minnesotans to vote no on the marriage amendment.
We've been married for 13 years, the happiest years of our lives. That isn't to say that those years have been without struggles or hard times. But it is those tough moments that make marriage so important. Marriage for us is a commitment that two people make to each other and their family that they'll be there for each other, no matter what. Marriage is a commitment to forever.
If someone had asked us about same-sex marriage when we first got married, neither of us would've had a good answer. It just wasn't something we'd ever thought much about. But over the years, we've both come to realize that telling some people they aren't worthy of marriage just isn't right. That's not the purpose of our Constitution, and it's not the right message to send our children. We feel this amendment is just too much government intrusion into the personal lives of Minnesotans. We have come to understand that same-sex couples want to marry for the same reasons that we married — they love each other, they want to make a commitment to each other, and many of them want to start families of their own. We began talking with our kids about different relationships when a gay couple in our neighborhood adopted a young son and saw first-hand just how similar their family was to our own.
We're proud to be Minnesotans. We're also Catholic, and Republican voters. To some, it may seem unlikely that we're speaking out about this constitutional amendment — but we want everyone to know it's OK to give this amendment a second look. We did, and we came to the conclusion that we don't support the government imposing a one-size-fits-all definition of marriage onto everyone. It just isn't what government should be about.
At first glance, it may not seem like this amendment does anything extreme — but when you think about it a little more, you may realize that passing this amendment would forever close the door on the options of marriage. Initially, we thought that this amendment did not affect us. But most of us know a gay couple, perhaps involving a co-worker, relative, or even a son or daughter. We all have people we care about who could lose something they really cherish and hope for, that some of us may take for granted.
This conversation has been good for our family, and even strengthened our own marriage. We want all families to be as stable and as happy as possible, and we want all children to grow up in loving, committed families — which is something that marriage provides unlike anything else.
Many Minnesotans are still not sure how they'll vote on this amendment, and that's OK. We know this is a personal decision and sincerely respect people of both sides. We are just asking you to give this amendment a second look. Think about how you'd feel if your government told your son or your daughter that it was illegal to marry the person he or she loves.