The right to be a family

Passing of the same-sex marriage bill gives security to same-sex couples.

Not yet one month ago, Gov. Mark Dayton gave his signature to a bill making Minnesota the 12th state in America to legalize same-sex marriages. As our nation looks forward with several other states poised to address the same issue, it’s important to recognize how widespread the effect of this bill is on Minnesota’s local communities, including its influence on University of Minnesota students.

Last November, over half of Minnesota’s eligible voters struck down an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In Hennepin County, 64 percent voted against the amendment, and in precincts populated largely by college students, over 80 percent of voters opposed the proposed amendment. The youth vote was heard in a big way with the sound defeat of the marriage amendment, which paved the way for the rightful equality many students now look forward to enjoying. 

The bill also opens up questions regarding same-sex couples’ rights as families, particularly when qualifying for housing. The Como Student Community Cooperative offers family housing for University of Minnesota Students.

Marcie Lantz Driver, general manager of CSCC, said in an email that the student co-op has been recognizing same-sex domestic couples as eligible for familial student housing since 1999. Now that legislation has passed guaranteeing same-sex couples’ rights to marriage, Lantz Driver said the co-op may see an increased number of same-sex couples applying for housing, though passing of the bill has not changed any of the co-op’s all-inclusive policies. Lantz Driver also noted that children are not necessary for applications to family housing and that she hopes to see an increase in couples applying to the co-op, regardless of sexual orientation. 

Hadley Adkins, operations manager of the Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative — another family housing development for University students — said in an email that their co-op is also all-inclusive and that the new legislation will not have an effect on existing CTC policies.