As Minnesota prepares to vote on the legality of gay marriage this coming November, a television ad in support of same-sex marriage has hit the airwaves in Minnesota calling for the definition of marriage to be changed. However, pro-family groups are arguing against such an amendment and are saying marriage has wider implications on the family unit than many gay marriage activists are suggesting.
The Minnesota ad, which was released last Thursday, features a heterosexual couple who have a grandson who is gay.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps member Fred Petersen talks about his 59-year marriage to his wife, Yvonne, and describes their time together as "the happiest years of my life."
"I fought for the basic freedoms of all people," Fred Petersen says, noting his military career.
"If someone had asked me if gay people should be able to get married, I would have said no," Yvonne Petersen admitted of her previous stance on the issue.
Fred Peterson then says: "The world is changing - gay and lesbian people want to get married for the same reason that I wanted to marry my wife. Why shouldn't other people enjoy the happiness and the love that we've enjoyed for our lifetime?"
"Love is love and it should belong to everybody," concludes Yvonne Petersen.
The ad was put up by the Freedom to Marry organization in Minnesota, and is their first ever televised ad. The pro-gay marriage organization notes that its efforts are aimed at sparking "conversation about the meaning of marriage across the nation." It says that TV ads such as these are "essential for showing Minnesotans why marriage matters and getting the word out about how the proposed amendment will hurt families if it is passed."
However, Chuck Darrell, Director of Communications for Minnesota for Marriage, is seeking to defend the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
"We agree that marriage should only be entered by loving and committed couples, but marriage is not simply about recognizing the love and commitment of the adults involved in the relationship," Darrell told CP.
"Virtually every society throughout history had defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman because of children. Protecting the interests of children is the primary reason that government regulates and licenses marriage in the first instance," he continued.
The director of communications noted that a traditional marriage protects and promotes the well-being of children by allowing the child to benefit from being raised by both a father and mother.
"Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and father, accountable to the child and to each other," Darrell concluded.
Minnesota is set to vote on Nov. 6 on a proposed amendment to the state's constitution that would constitutionally ban gay marriage.