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Open Letter on the Marriage Amendment from Humphrey School Faculty On November 6, Minnesotans will be asked to vote on a constitutional

amendment that would limit the freedom to marry, reserving it exclusively for opposite-sex couples. State statutes already bar same-sex couples from the benefits, rights, and privileges of marriage. The ballot proposal would cement this prohibition and elevate it to constitutional status by writing it into our states foundational document. We, the undersigned members of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs faculty, oppose the proposed amendment to limit the status of marriage to opposite-sex couples. In speaking plainly and publicly on this issue, we seek to carry on the legacy of our schools namesake, Hubert H. Humphrey, who declared that the worst evil of all is indifference and called on us to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights. We make our statement today as individuals but we are guided by our sense of obligation, as public affairs educators, to advance the common good in a diverse world and to contribute to statewide discussions of important questions of policy and law. In line with these values, we aim in this letter to clarify some matters under dispute and explain why we believe Minnesotans should join us in rejecting the proposal to amend our state constitution. Controversies over marriage equality are not new. Although we may differ in our beliefs about whether the freedom to marry is a basic human right, it is important to appreciate two historical facts about marriage in our society. First, we have had many traditions of marriage in the United States, with many different answers to the questions of who can marry and on what terms. Second, marriage has always been a battleground for civil rights and a flashpoint in group struggles to achieve the dignity of full civic standing. As a form of property sold through contract, slaves in America were barred from entering into contracts of their own whether for work or for marriage. As the Emancipation Proclamation made free labor the law of the land, it also extended access to marriage, so that former slaves could enjoy this status as other Americans did. In the ensuing years, many states chose to limit the rights of blacks to marry whites. Minnesotans today can be proud that our state was not among them. State laws banning interracial marriage were abolished during the mid-twentieth century, as part of the national struggle to win civil rights for racial minorities. Similarly, women moved toward full and equal standing in society as new marriage laws ended their legal subordination under marital coverture and new divorce laws transformed marriage into a union based on love, commitment and individual choice. Such moments of transition have always been accompanied by protest and predictions that marriage itself would not survive. But changes to marriage have rarely imperiled marriage. To the contrary, they have allowed marriage to remain vital in a changing society and have played a key role in our collective journey toward the more perfect union promised by the U.S. Constitution. In our fields of study, we evaluate proposed policy changes in many ways. None is more fundamental than the question of whether a new policy, established by a statute or constitutional amendment, will yield societal benefits. In our view, the case for a constitutional restriction on marriage fails this most basic test. To begin with, it is essential that voters bear in mind the distinction between a statutory restriction on the freedom to marry, which is already in place, and a constitutional amendment. State constitutions are designed to serve democracy by placing a set of basic rules and agreements outside the give and take of everyday politics. Constitutions allow us to safeguard our basic framework of policymaking by establishing provisions that are very difficult to alter. Statutes are designed to be far more susceptible to modification, ensuring that future generations can choose new courses of action as they grapple with their own changing needs, values, and challenges.

The proposed marriage amendment turns this logic on its head, using the state constitution to cement a particular set of value commitments and tie the hands of future generations of Minnesotans. Reliable polls make it clear that younger Minnesotans, who will inevitably lead our state into the future, favor marriage equality in large numbers. The Minnesota Constitution serves a vital democratic purpose for our state; it should not be used to impede the process of democratic policy change or to prevent future generations from making laws that accord with their own beliefs and values. Indeed, passage of the proposed amendment would open the door for similar uses of this policy device in other issue areas, turning the states constitution into a vehicle for cementing policy victories today at the expense of Minnesotas ability to govern itself tomorrow. Beyond broad defenses of tradition, proponents of the amendment have said little about how Minnesotans might benefit from an enduring constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The few specific claims that have been advanced do not withstand scrutiny. We know of no reliable evidence, for example, to support the assertion that marriage will be weakened as a societal institution if same-sex couples are allowed equal access. A second major claim that the proposed amendment is needed to protect children can be assessed based on a substantial body of research. Like the Board of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recently voted unanimously to oppose the proposed amendment, we find no social-scientific basis for concluding that children will be harmed if same-sex couples are allowed to enter into marriage. By contrast, the proposed amendment has the potential to generate significant costs over time for Minnesotans. Five hundred and fifteen Minnesota laws and 1138 federal laws currently rely on marital status to determine benefits, rights, and privileges. These laws are connected to one another and to additional policies in a host of complex ways. By reserving these marriage-based policy benefits for opposite-sex couples, and by embedding them into our constitutional framework, the proposed amendment would impose enduring costs most directly on same-sex couples and their children. From the workplace to the hospital and beyond, the constitutional amendment would deprive members of these Minnesota families of significant benefits, rights, and protections potentially destabilizing long-term relationships and making families more vulnerable to events that threaten their well-being. The potential costs of the amendment are not limited to same-sex couples and their children, however. By dividing loving relationships into first- and second-class statuses, the proposed amendment risks creating confusions and conflicts across Minnesotas policy system. This risk is likely to be compounded if Minnesotans abandon the efficiencies that have historically flowed from recognizing that a marriage made in one state is valid in all others. As a growing number of states embrace marriage equality for same-sex couples, the proposed constitutional amendment would risk trapping Minnesota in a quagmire of interstate and intrastate policy disputes. For these reasons, we concur with members of the University of Minnesota Law School faculty whose Open Letter concludes that the proposed amendment will likely generate litigation over both its validity and its scope and that passage invites significant and needless expense for the state and its citizens during a time of extraordinary economic difficulty. Because we value cultural diversity and religious freedom, we support the rights of communities in Minnesota to vary in their preferred conceptions of marriage and family relations. At its best, American history has demonstrated that such differences of belief can be defended and honored alongside a system of equality before the law. It is precisely this equality before the law that will be at stake when we go to the polls on November 6. As Election Day approaches, we hope our fellow Minnesotans will remember the words of Hubert H. Humphrey: Equality means equality for all no exceptions, no 'yes, buts', no asterisked footnotes imposing limits."

Respectfully, The undersigned faculty members of the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Affiliation for identification only. The views expressed in this letter are those of the individual signers and not necessarily those of the Humphrey School or the University of Minnesota.

Ryan Allen, Assistant Professor Ragui Assaad, Professor J. Brian Atwood, Professor Wolf Bielsfeld, Lecturer Laura Bloomberg, Lecturer Harry C. Boyte, Senior Fellow Richard Bolan, Professor Emeritus Robert H. Bruininks, Professor John M. Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs Barbara C. Crosby, Associate Professor Dennis Donovan, Research Fellow Nancy N. Eustis, Professor Emerita Yingling Fan, Assistant Professor Katherine Fennelly, Professor Debra Fitzpatrick, Lecturer

Greta Friedemann-Snchez, Assistant Professor Edward G. Goetz, Professor Sherry Gray, Lecturer Maria Hanratty, Associate Professor Jay Kiedrowski, Senior Fellow Steve Kelley, Senior Fellow Robert Kuderle, Professor Jennifer Kuzma, Associate Professor Deborah Levison, Professor Greg Lindsey, Professor Ann Markusen, Professor Emerita Samuel L. Myers, Professor

James Ron, Associate Professor Jodi Sandfort, Associate Professor Carissa Schively Slotterback, Associate Professor Eric P. Schwartz, Professor Joe Soss, Professor, Cowles Chair for the Study of Public Service Melissa Middleton Stone, Gross Family Professor of Nonprofit Management Deb Swackhamer, Charles M. Denny, Jr. Chair in Science, Technology, and Public Policy Judy Temple, Associate Professor Art Rolnick, Senior Fellow

Guilllermo Narvaez, Research Associate Lee W. Munnich, Jr., Senior Fellow Chavanne Peercy, Lecturer Kathryn S. Quick, Assistant Professor

Paul Stone, Lecturer Elizabeth Wilson, McKnight Land-Grant Professor Zhirong (Jerry) Zhao, Assistant Professor