Good morning, Shakopee -
I wanted to let you know about something I’ve been struggling with for the past few months. The amendment to limit the status of marriage to the opposite sex, better known in Minnesota as the marriage amendment.
Personally, I am very much opposed to the amendment. To me, this is a matter of right vs. wrong and I believe it is simply wrong for me to cast a vote for a constitutional amendment that restricts the ability of my friends, family, coworkers to marry whomever they choose. As mayor, however, this is an altogether different matter.
A month ago, I was asked to speak at a rally being held in Shakopee by Minnesota United for All Families. MN United is a non-partisan committee campaigning against the amendment. They are funded by many business leaders, LGBT Advocacy groups and individuals. I spoke with a lot of folks I trust on both side of the aisle about whether it was a good idea to speak up or not. Most said it was an issue where I do not need to be involved. It is a state issue, it doesn’t affect Shakopee, mayors are non-partisan, etc.
In opposition to a majority of the smart advice I received, I decided to follow my conscience. This amendment is simply wrong and, as Mayor of Shakopee, I will do what it takes to defeat it.
Many in Shakopee may not agree with my decision and I respect that. My role is non-partisan and I believe this is absolutely a non-partisan issue. As Mayor of Shakopee, I represent many gay couples and I believe it is right to stand up for them. It is already law in Minnesota that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, if this amendment passes – and I don’t believe it will – it will constitutionally create a 2nd class of Shakopee residents. Those who can and those who cannot get married. This is simply wrong.
The argument against the marriage amendment goes beyond love. It is also an issue of economic development, the cornerstone of my mayoral platform. Business leaders from across the state oppose this amendment. John Taft, the CEO of RBC Wealth believes:
in today’s competitive market, companies need to recruit the best talent; that gays and lesbians are a critical source of quality employees and that Minnesota has long prospered by fostering a welcoming and inclusive culture.
Legendary Medtronic CEO Bill George says:
Defeating this amendment is essential not only to provide civil rights, but also to ensure that Minnesota is open and welcoming to everyone — regardless of religion, gender, race, national origin or sexual orientation.
Many other corporations and leaders are speaking out against the amendment like General Mills, Thompson Reuters and St Judes to protect the economic future of Minnesota as an inclusive community recruiting all talented and creative people to our state.
At the rally last night, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with many gay couples and individuals who live in Shakopee or those who live in Shakopee and have gay children, parents, friends, siblings, co-workers and the list goes on and on. This is an amendment affecting real people in Shakopee. An amendment that does real harm to Shakopee residents. An issue that I believe that with your help, we will defeat.
Please Vote No this November.
Thank you for listening and I would love to hear your thoughts on my stance. Have a great day!