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How can we tell others they must wait for their rights?

There's a refrain we've been hearing frequently from DFLers lately: Yes, equal marriage is important, but our top priority is the budget, and it will have to wait. That's a ridiculous stance to take. After all, writing a bill to legalize marriage would take no time at all. More importantly, I just can't ignore the callousness of hearing those who take the right to marry for granted telling others they must wait.

Would our happily-married legislators be willing to wait? What if we told them that, because we need them to focus 100 percent of their energies on the budget, they must leave their spouses for a few years, and they can re-marry when we decide the time is right for them to return?

I know, that sounds absurd. It sounds absurd because most of us are used to having the right to marry; it's something we take for granted. Nobody can just take that away from us on a whim. Because we take it for granted, though, some legislators apparently don't see the problem with asking others to wait.

For those who don't have the right to marry, this is important. It's about whether they have the freedom to join together with the person they love. It's about equal access to legal rights they're now denied. For some who are currently denied access to their partners' health care, it may literally be a life-and-death issue.

I ask DFL legislators to put themselves in the LGBT community's shoes. What if you were denied the right to marry the person you love? How would you react to someone telling you to wait until it's politically convenient for them? When it comes to civil rights, that's simply unacceptable.  

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