Gay marriage comment was misconstrued

In reply to Jesse Lickel’s Nov. 24 letter to the editor, I, Marty Andrade, wish to offer myself some defense. First, I wish to point out to Lickel that I am in no way someone who would trivialize mental illness of any kind. I am a psychology student and not out to be “insensitive” to people suffering from mental illness. I would also like it noted that I never said, nor do I believe, that anyone who identifies themselves as members of the GLBT community should ever be committed to a mental institution.

As for my quote in the Nov. 20 Daily article “Marriage ruling divides campus,” I have a few things to say. Normally I allow for a certain amount of error when I am quoted by the Daily; however, my disgust at what the Daily published is immense. My quote was taken out of context, and readers should know that I and others spent a half hour talking to the Daily reporter in what was literally a roundtable discussion. If the imaginary friend comment, meant at the time to deal with legal issues and nothing to do with my views on homosexuality, was the only thing the Daily got out of such a long conversation, that is sad.

Also, the Daily reporter got the wrong affiliation of Joan Coughlin, who was quoted as being a Students for Family Values member; she is not.

In my years at the University I have served students in several roles, and in each of them I have always exemplified my belief in the importance of a diversity of viewpoints. When I first served on the fees committee in 2002, I voted for the Queer Student Cultural Center to receive funding at the level they requested. As speaker of the Minnesota Student Association Forum, I helped the Queer Student Cultural Center secure a spot on Forum. I spend my spare time in the summer volunteering for the Special Olympics. I am not the hateful person some have made me out to be; certainly the members of the Queer Student Cultural Center who have stopped by the Students for Family Values table in Coffman Union to discuss recent events know that to be true.

Yet the question remains: What do I think about recent gay marriage rulings? I believe, like many do, that the government should not go about changing the definition of family for the sake of a small minority of the population. The broader cultural view I hold is that there is not enough justification to change what a family is in a legal manner. I believe in equal protection under the law for all citizens, and that grievance about hospital visitation, health care and personal economics can be handled without delving into that sociological unit called the family.

People can do what they want to in their own homes, but we do not need the legal system to recognize a nontraditional family as being a traditional one. I do not mean to say that I want to refuse rights to any person in our society, but right now everyone in our society has the right to marry a member of the opposite sex. The fact that some choose not to exercise that right should have no bearing on changing what for history has been a successful base unit in society, the family.

Martin Andrade, a psychology senior, is president of Students for Family Values and speaker of the MSA Forum. He welcomes comments at [email protected]