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Charlie and Gail Opatz: The marriage of Franny and Irene

Charlie and Gail Opatz: The marriage of Franny and Irene

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In August, we celebrated my daughter’s marriage to her partner Irene in Portland, Ore. It was a special day, filled with traditional things — neither of them seeing each other’s dress prior to the ceremony — as well as personal, unique touches — walking up the aisle to a rock guitar riff.

We call it a marriage because that’s what these two beautiful women wanted for each other and for the more than 100 family members and friends celebrating their day in the open air. But, sadly, it wasn’t a legal marriage because Oregon and many other states don’t recognize same-sex marriages.

We aren’t writing this letter to convince those readers who have made up their minds regarding the upcoming Marriage Amendment — it’s not our place to change minds.

Rather, we write to those folks who aren’t quite sure how they plan to vote, who haven’t completely closed the door to their fellow citizens, neighbors, children and grandchildren who are gay and want to experience all the joys and struggles of married life.

We are not advocating for churches to go against their beliefs by accepting gay marriages. (Why would anyone choose to get married in a faith community that does not accept them?) It’s about respecting all among us who desire lasting love in a committed relationship and who would like to publicly and legally announce this to their community.

We belong to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winona, a vibrant group of believers. One of our seven principles is the belief in the worth and dignity of each human being and that no idea, ideal, or philosophy is superior to a single human life.

We accept each other and encourage each other to grow. One of the ways we do this by accepting all members of our community and by being open to the many ways the Creator has fashioned us, regardless of cultural orientation, spiritual orientation or sexual orientation.

Please vote ‘no’ on the Marriage Amendment and say ‘yes’ to diversity in our community and in our families.

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