Letter: Acceptance would go a long way

To the editor:

Minnesota will be voting on a proposed amendment to our state’s constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman. As someone who calls Monticello my hometown, I urge you to remember that this amendment will affect someone you know.  I graduated from Monticello in 2007. I am proud of being from Monticello. I am also proud of being gay. However, being gay, as a child, in Monticello was difficult.
We were all different at some point. In fact, we were told to accept everyone as they were. This wisdom was instilled to me by my Dad who told me that he would love me no matter what – that didn’t mean if I was gay that his love would stop.
Being gay was something I was insulted about while growing up. Now as an adult, I hear about how same-sex marriage will change our culture and values. I hear that being gay is unacceptable. Sadly, I know that there are thousands of gay and lesbian kids who will grow up the same way I did: living in fear that you will not be loved. If we listened to the advice we gave our kids, “accept those that are different,” the issue of same-sex marriage simply would not be a big deal.
Gay and lesbian couples are not the same as heterosexual couples. But, weren’t we told as kids that we should accept those different than ourselves?  How will we explain to kids that someone has two mothers or two fathers? Eventually it’s just going to be a normal thing, like having divorced parents.
Maybe that gay kid won’t have to go to sleep tonight scared that one day Mom and Dad won’t love him anymore. Maybe being that kind of different won’t be a bad thing. Minnesota has an opportunity to come out on Nov. 6 and in doing so, tell its children that they are loved unconditionally and “belong.” Remember the kids who dream of sharing their life with someone of the same sex. They’re listening too.
Being gay is just one of a thousand traits that make up my person. The desire to love and be loved is the strongest force on this planet. And in that way, being gay affects every interaction in which straight people also take part. Every human has a desire for companionship. So on Nov. 6, please accept those who are different than you.

Alex Wipper
St. Paul

  • Sara Hamann-Bouma

    To those of you who know my son, Alexzander Joseph Lawrence Wipper, who is the young man whom wrote this letter, I am so proud to call him my son! May you all remember that each and everyone of us has a responsibility to our children and to teach them being different is okay. Alex is a young man, supporting himself, paying taxes, living on his own, with much struggle behind him. Why shouldn’t he have the same rights as my daughter someday to marry his forever love. To have a family and have it be acknowledged by the world as legal. And enjoy the benefits of being a married couple.
    Thanks for reading.
    Get out and vote!
    Sara Hamann-Bouma

  • Emily Gruenke (Hawkins)

    As a fellow Monticello graduate, I’m very proud to say I know Alex and went to high school with him. Words can’t express the courage that went in to writing this letter, and I hope it will affect those who were planning to vote yes this November. Please vote NO this November and don’t limit the basic FREEDOM, as a human being, an American, to marry the person you love. Thank you for writing this, Alex!

  • Rosanna Maurer-Zenner

    I could not agree more with Alex and his stance on this issue. We owe it to our children to open the doors of equality even further than our parents did before us. People need to get off of their righteous high horses and see that love can not be confined to a single definition. If this thought process continues we will be limiting our children on who they are allowed to express their love to, and nobody has the right to make that decision for another person. My daughter recently asked me what the sign meant in our neighbors yard an I explained to her the debate in our community about who is allowed to marry and who isn’t. She simply stated why should anyone besides me be able to decide what makes me happy if it’s not hurting anyone else. Exactly. Do we not have the freedom of speech, to choose our religion and free press. Is not our most basic right in life the ability to love and be loved openly. We owe this to our children and generations to come.