If you know me at all, I feel like this is a no brainer--but you all know that I will be voting "no" on the marriage amendment, right? Just so we are clear. This amendment has the potential to greatly impact people I hold closely. It also affects my kids' friends and their families. It matters to me a great deal. So, when someone asked if I would write a piece for the local newspaper--I did. Of course, there is so much more to it than what I wrote. But this is a slice of what I was thinking about that day. If you want or need to talk about this--lovely. I welcome the conversation. But you can't be mean or yell at me. And you have to buy my coffee. As printed in the Highland Villager

This election cycle has turned to the usual bickering and negative ads, but here in Minnesota we are facing a much different political reality. We are being called on to define love, freedom, and marriage through our vote. This November we all have the opportunity to vote on the marriage amendment.

As pastor at Humble Walk Lutheran Church, which calls the West 7th community home, I have spent a lot of time talking to community members about this important issue. We discuss friends and family members who happen to be gay and their desire to have the freedom to marry. We also discuss what a yes vote and no vote mean. A yes vote would permanently limit the freedom to marry in Minnesota. A no vote would keep open the conversation about what marriage means and it would keep the government out of our churches.

I open every Sunday by saying that, “Where ever you are on your journey of faith God meets you there.” This amendment if passed would single out one group of Minnesotans and tell them it is illegal to marry the person they love. Not only would that be extremely hurtful it would limit the freedom of one group of people simply because of who they are.

In a world that so desperately need more kindness this amendment would divide Minnesotans and it would mix religion and politics in our constitution. Now is the time to think deeply about this amendment and where you stand. I ask all Minnesotans to stand on the side of kindness and love - Vote No!

Rev. Jodi Houge

Humble Walk

941 West 7th st.

St. Paul, MN