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Commentary: Conservatives, celebrate love and marriage

We are an unlikely couple to support marriage for all in Minnesota. We are traditional, conservative Christians and our faith is an important part of our lives. In politics we are conservative Republicans generally seeking less government not more.

This summer we will celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. Our immediate family members -- including our five adult children -- are all heterosexual. And until recently we opposed same-sex marriage.

Read on to see why and how we now speak out in support of marriage for all.

Last fall we were compelled to make a decision on this issue as Minnesotans were asked to vote on a state constitutional amendment, which, if passed, would have excluded all same-sex couples from marriage. As we thought, talked and prayed about this issue it became very clear to us how to uphold our values as Christians and as political conservatives. We voted for love over judgment. We voted for less government intrusion. We voted "no."

Discrimination should not be enshrined in our state Constitution. Neither should government take this additional step into our private lives.

Now the state Legislature will consider removing from state law the restriction limiting marriage only to heterosexual couples.

Should gay and lesbian couples be welcomed into and enjoy the benefits of the state institution of marriage? We say "yes!" And we encourage our state legislators to have the courage to vote for marriage for all.

Two people who love each other in a lifelong relationship should be celebrated. We should all cheer for those who stand up in front of friends and family (and the state) and commit their whole lives to each other.

Monogamy should be encouraged as a part of the warp and weave that holds our society together. The state has a long and happy history of sanctioning and providing benefits to couples in the institution of marriage, with very good reason. Institutionalized monogamy fosters much good and stability in our society.

The cheering and celebrating of these relationships should especially come from conservatives. We want stability. We value monogamy. We believe lifelong committed relationships are important in society.

Now is the time to expand the right to marry to our friends and our neighbors who are gay. A short review of history quickly shows that over the years our society has grown, changed and improved in many ways. One doesn't need to go back very far in history to understand there are many traditions and institutions that were once thought of as right and proper by the majority that we now collectively view as grossly discriminatory. We firmly believe history will prove the right of marriage for same-sex couples is a step in a positive direction.

Opponents argue that same-sex marriage is bad or confusing for children. Broken families can be bad and confusing for kids. Uninvolved parents can be bad for kids. Love is never bad for anyone. We should also keep in mind that same-sex couples that become parents do so very intentionally.

Opponents also claim that gay marriage somehow threatens either the institution of marriage or heterosexual marriages. Easy divorce might weaken marriage. Having the state change marriage to something else (civil union) will weaken it. Welcoming same-sex couples into this institution won't weaken it. Certainly our gay friends marrying do not threaten our marriage.

Marriage is about love. Marriage is a matter of the heart more than the law. Marriage is about this love being made public in a lifelong commitment.

Love trumps judgment. Let's not judge. Let's not discriminate. Let's love. And let's encourage others to love.

So to our fellow conservatives, fellow Republicans and fellow traditional Christians, we say: Let's celebrate love! Let's celebrate marriage! And let us now include same-sex couples in this celebration.

Contact your state legislators now, before the bill comes to the floors of the House and Senate and tell them to vote "yes" for marriage for all in Minnesota.