Phil Araoz is a Rochester physician who writes a monthly column for the Minnesota Post-Bulletin. He writes in a "both sides" exchange about why he thinks the people of Minnesota deserve to have their say:
Until now, the societal subsidy that is “marriage” existed mainly to promote stability for creating and raising children. You can see why that’s important when looking at areas with low rates of marriage. You find high rates of single motherhood and poverty, especially child poverty. The idea that marriage’s societal good is procreation is also behind most of the existing restrictions on marriage (Prohibitions on close relatives marrying, for example).
The alternative view is that marriage is mainly for love, specifically sexual love. Sounds sweet. But why should society (you and I) subsidize sexual love for its own sake? What societal good does it support? Remember that most of marriage’s practical benefits (hospital visitation, inheritance) can be obtained through other legal means, so this isn’t about those things. It’s about changing what marriage gives to society. Should it continue to be mainly stability for children? Or it should it be mainly happiness for adults?
Mind you, society has been moving toward happiness for adults for a long time. Look what it’s gotten us: A high divorce rate, dropping birth rate, more and more families whose members all move in different directions. Of course, none of those things have been caused by same-sex marriage, but the world view behind them is the same.
In the end, the system best for society will emerge. But in the meantime, understand that severing the link between marriage and procreation is a big shift, one that people understand instinctively. Changes like this should at minimum be decided by voters.
Incidentally, the other side of this "both sides" exchange, Leah Nelson, offers this argument for her view that Minnesotans should not be able to vote on marriage:
"Do we really want to be on the list of small-minded states 30 years down the road?"
Wait, so the majority of American states are "small-minded"?!