by Leanne Pouliot Kunze
I am a faithful Catholic. I graduated from a Catholic high school and a Catholic college. I have served on the school board of St. Joseph Catholic School and I am an active parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waconia.
I believe my sacramental marriage is so much more than civil marriage, but both are called “marriage.” To me, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is much more than civic marriage, so let’s keep our focus on our sacramental bond and leave the civic definition alone.
Our faith teaches us to form a conscience based in morality. Our faith teaches us to fight for dignity of all human life, regardless of sin. We are all sinners in God’s eyes. I am not confused or duped by those who oppose this dangerous constitutional amendment, as suggested by my priest’s recent homily.
I am disappointed that our Mother Church has entered the fray that interferes with the religious freedom of others. It has been extremely disheartening to see Archbishop Nienstedt abuse his position of authority within our Church to pedal influence on a civil matter that impacts the constitutional rights of all citizens. Ask yourself what precedent this would set. What if a Mormon or Islamic belief were being proposed for adoption into our civic constitution? What about other Christian churches who recognize and support same-sex couples? Our religious freedom is only protected if we also allow the religious freedom of others.
Our state Constitution is a civic document that is intended to protect rights and should never be used to deny liberty, freedom or equality to another based on a religious belief. Our country is based on liberty, justice and freedom for all human beings. Dignity, respect, equality, justice, liberty and freedom are indeed human rights!
It’s amazing to envision a society that values all of its people, a true Christian value. The old saying, ‘What Would Jesus Do’ is so simple, yet such a powerful reminder of our humanity and constant struggle to choose Jesus’s message of love, forgiveness and selfless service to others. He doesn’t call us to play God and judge others. In my experience investigating child abuse and neglect, and working with families to provide safety and stability to children, I have met loving same-sex couples who took in and raised children and I’ve seen these children flourish. I have also been discouraged by so many households of married moms and dads who do not show love, commitment, dignity and respect for each other, let alone their children. It’s not the definition of marriage that needs fixing or protecting; it’s our thoughts and our actions that need fixing!
When I hear our young adults talk about this marriage amendment, it gives me hope. Many compare it to historical accounts of various civil rights movements such as slavery and voting rights. I truly hope its our generation of faithful Christians who courageously vote no and defeat this hurtful and discriminatory amendment, but if not, I trust it will not be long for the next generation to correct it and be on the right side of history.
It took courageous white men and women to extend human rights to blacks.
It took courageous Catholics to extend the Sacrament of Matrimony to inter-faith couples.
It took courageous Catholics to extend the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to inter-racial couples.
It took courageous men to extend human rights to women.
And it continues to take courageous citizens, straight or otherwise, to stand up for the civil rights of everyone!
It is time for courageous Catholics and others to stand up and fight for the rights and freedom for ALL citizens to enter into a civil contract regardless of their sexual orientation. Our religious belief regarding homosexual acts should not interfere with our religious belief of justice, dignity of human life and Free Will of every individual.
We are not God. We are all God’s children. We are all called to show His great love in all we do. We must meet people where they are at in their spiritual life. The best way to “protect marriage and family” is to live it in our own actions, not by denying others the right to civil marriage. Please join me in courageously voting NO!
May God bless ALL families!
Leanne Pouliot Kunze is a Waconia resident and a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. In 2010, she was the DFL-endorsed candidate for State House in District 34A. Follow her on Twitter at @LeActionMN.