We are your fellow Minnesotans. Your neighbors, your friends, your colleagues and your children’s classmates. As your fellow Minnesotans, my family deserves to be treated with the same level of dignity as your own family and every other Minnesotan. Unfortunately, we are not treated with the same level of dignity. Fortunately, with the vote you are about to cast you have the opportunity to change that.

 

I was in my second trimester with twins, our second and third children, when I began to experience heavy bleeding and severe cramping. When we arrived at the emergency clinic the staff balked at allowing my partner to enter the examination room with me, despite that I specifically requested her presence. I have designated her as my Durable Medical Power of Attorney, and I provided that paperwork to the staff, yet still they balked.

I ask you to take a moment to imagine your spouse, laying on an examination table in an emergency room, bleeding heavily, doubled over in pain. Really put yourself in that place for a moment. Does this strike you as the appropriate time to have a discussion about the nature of a relationship? To debate someone’s personal wishes? Or would you prefer those care providers instead provide care and relief to your spouse according their wishes and in their immediate best interest?

I fought. I advocated. Through tears and grief and blood and pain and loss. And ultimately they did allow my partner to be with me as we learned that our twins were lost. The treatment we experienced that day added insult to injury in what was already a devastating moment in our lives. I will never forget the faces of the two women who stood between my partner and I in that moment.

In contrast, Minnesota is a state that historically values community and neighbors who support and care for one another. This amendment calls into question the value of Minnesotans like me and our families and as such gives credence to bias and homophobia. My father is a minister of thirty five years, and having grown up in the Church, I appreciate and understand the sanctity of marriage. However, marriage, as a legal contract, is a civil institution. As citizens of Minnesota, your responsibility is to protect the integrity of our sate’s constitution. By voting no on this amendment you’re strengthening and stabilizing all families, improving access to healthcare, benefitting financial stability, and creating safer schools and communities for everyone in Minnesota.

This proposed amendment will not benefit one single family in Minnesota. It will harm thousands. Please support the vitality, health and strength of all people in Minnesota by protecting the integrity of our constitution and voting no on this amendment.

-Awen Briem