In today’s Western world, there are three meanings attributed to marriage by sociologists; the sacred, the social, and the personal. “At present, therefore, there is lack of uniform opinion as to the basic meaning of marriage.” (The American Family, Ruth Cavan). The purposes of marriage are varied and cover a range from accomplishing religious values and supporting social order to providing personal happiness.
Today we confront another development in our understanding of family, the inclusion of same-sex couples in our social, personal, but not necessarily religious definition of marriage. What consequence, if any, would the inclusion of same-sex couples have on the family structure? Would the meaning of family, our safe, comfortable and developing nest, be significantly altered or even lost, as has been claimed (Nienstadt’s “letter to the priests”)? What would be the religious, social, and personal consequences of excluding a significant percent of our adult citizens from the advantages of legal marriage? These are the questions Minnesota voters face as they go to the polls in November to vote on the proposed amendment.