I'm 24 years old, I was born and raised in Minnesota, I am a self-identifying Republican and I'm straight.
I'd like give you my perspective, and the perspective of most people I know who are part of my generation, political party and sexual orientation, on why adding a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage is not only wrong on a moral front, but also takes our party in the wrong direction for future generations of Republicans.
You'd think that as a Republican, I might be on the other side of this issue. But I don't believe that equal rights for same-sex couples — or anyone — is a partisan issue. I'm not speaking up because of a relationship I've had with a gay brother, sister, relative or parent. To be honest, before I became a part of this movement three years ago, I didn't even have a gay friend.
Instead, I'm driven by something else: an ideology — one encouraged by my peers — that tells me this is not the direction our state or our nation should be headed. In fact, among members of my generation, there is no doubt that equal rights for all Minnesotans is absolutely necessary for the good of our state. In other words, it should not be up for debate or used to achieve political gain.
The need for equality and the full acceptance of GLBT people is something Minnesota's next generation of leaders has already embraced. Public opinion is moving quickly toward full equality, and passage of this bill will lead us astray. Never before has our Constitution sought to treat people unequally. This constitutional amendment will not only set our fight for equality back in time, it will set an agenda that will distract from the investments in Minnesota that truly matter.
So, as a young person who hopes to live here the rest of my life, I ask legislators to vote no on an amendment that would enforce inequality and provide my generation yet another reason to doubt the political process.
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As a Republican, I ask legislators not to pass a measure that would force future generations of Republicans to spend valuable time undoing mistakes made today.
And finally, as a straight person not driven by anything but ideology, I'd ask that my representatives in the Legislature not let me down by putting their own personal beliefs and political benefits in the way of equality.
Madeline Koch, a government affairs professional who works in downtown St. Paul, has been a staff assistant for the Republican National Convention Host Committee and a press intern for former Sen. Norm Coleman in Washington. She is a source in MPR's Public Insight Network. This commentary is adapted from her testimony before the state Senate Judiciary Committee.