UMN Student Senate Opposes Marriage Amendment


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Joshua Preston, Chairman of the Student Senate

Email: Prest202@morris.umn.edu

Contact: Kate Brickman, Press Secretary, Minnesotans United for All Families

Phone: 815-343-9299

Email: Kate@mnunited.org

UNVERSITY OF MINNESOTA STUDENT SENATE OFFICIALLY

OPPOSES MARRIAGE AMENDMENT

On March 1, 2012, the University Student Senate, which represents all 67,000 students of the University of Minnesota across its five campuses, voted overwhelmingly to publicly reject the proposed marriage amendment to permanently exclude same-sex couples from marriage. In passing a resolution that calls for all students to stand with the LGBT community, the University of Minnesota Student Senate has officially become the largest representative student body in the nation to take such a stand.

“Not only as representatives of the student body, but as members of a larger, statewide community, we have a moral obligation to treat others as we would want to be treated,” said Student Senate Chairman Joshua Preston, “and stand against injustice in all of its forms.”

The debate over the resolution was long, as students from across the system told personal stories of their own experiences and spoke eloquently about supporting their gay and lesbian friends and neighbors. “I have not been prouder of the U of M than I am today,” said one student senator during debate, “and I’m amazed by the passion of my peers who have decided to be here today for this historic moment.”

“The next step is to take this all the way to the top,” said Preston. “This is just the beginning, and the next step is to get the University as a whole to come out against this hurtful amendment – including President Eric Kaler.”

Responding to this, Grace Geier, a freshman from Morris, added, “I’ll be ‘UMN Proud’ when there’s ‘UMN love’ for all people.”

The feeling is shared by Sarah Brammer-Shlay, a student who has been spending her free time volunteering with Minnesotans United for All Families. “The Minnesotan community is simply better than this amendment. I’m disappointed that this is even on the ballot in 2012,” said Brammer-Shlay. Her feelings prompted her to get involved with Minnesotans United, the organization working to defeat the amendment. “I am proud to call myself a Golden Gopher today.”

It should be noted that this should not apply only to the University of Minnesota. During debate over the resolution, student senator Andrew Showalter finished his remark by calling “upon my peers not only from the private universities and colleges but also in the MNSCU system to also take a stance on this issue.”

“After all,” he added, “It’s the right thing – and the Minnesotan thing – to do.”

——–

Attached is the full text of the resolution passed by the University Student Senate.

RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT DEFINES MARRIAGE AS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN

On November 6, 2012, the men and women of Minnesota will be voting on whether or not to amend the state constitution to “provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.”[1] Because the approval of such a provision would directly discriminate against (and thus perpetuate the stigmatization of) those who identify with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community by depriving them of same rights and recognition under state law as heterosexual couples, the Student Senate of the University of Minnesota believes it must take a stance on the proposed amendment. In making its decision, the body has considered three points:

(1)   The mission statement of the University of Minnesota, which states that in the exchange of ideas it is imperative to “provide an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and intolerance”[2]; and,

(2)   The responsibility of the Student Senate is to deal “with any issue that affects the academic mission of the University or general welfare of … students” while still working “for the betterment of the University as a whole”[3]; and, lastly,

(3)   We believe GLBT students who are denied the full rights and recognition by state law that  heterosexual couples enjoy are more likely to leave the state upon completion of their degree. As each student’s education through the University represents a significant investment in Minnesota’s future by the state itself, we believe the state has a vested interest in retaining those it has helped educate.

For these reasons, the Student Senate of the University of Minnesota believes the amendment is neither in the best interest of the University of Minnesota nor its students, and the Student Senate therefore rejects it. In addition, this body urges citizens – students and non – to stand with the GLBT community and vote against the proposed constitutional amendment.

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