Thankful for Hann's vote
Alia Arellano and Steve Smith (co-chairs) on behalf of the SD48 Executive Committee
Contrary to what the media would have you believe, Republicans are a diverse bunch. When it comes to gay marriage we fall on all sides of the issue, resembling Minnesotans across the state who are also broadly divided about the implications of redefining marriage. This debate is a healthy sign of democracy in action.
But one thing that Republicans are not divided on is the importance of liberty in a free society. Without the ability to speak freely and live according to your beliefs, the American experiment is destined to fail. Unfortunately, the new gay marriage law is a step backwards for individual and religious freedoms in our state. Senator Hann and the 29 other Senators from both parties who voted against this bill rightly recognized its fatal flaws.
We don’t have to take their word for it. During the debate in the legislature, several prominent religious liberty experts testified that the law would violate religious liberty protections guaranteed by the Constitution. For example, a local florist can be sued and forced to provide services for a same sex wedding, even if doing so violates her faith or her conscience. This exact scenario has already played out in Washingon, and we can expect similar legal battles to further divide Minnesotans and hurt family-owned business in coming years.
Even beloved faith-based community institutions like schools and hospitals will be required to accept the state-imposed definition of marriage in their everyday functions, otherwise be stripped of funding like Medicare reimbursements or educational grants for textbooks.
The citizens of Minnesota depend on our government to protect all of our rights, but this law gives preferential treatment to some while ignoring the constitutional rights of the rest. We’re very thankful for legislators like Senator Hann who have been willing to defend the personal liberties of all of their constituents, rather than only the loudest few.