Couple hopes to see equal treatment [UPDATED]Published 4:28am Monday, May 13, 2013 Updated 6:32am Monday, May 13, 2013
Dennis Martz and Dave Messenger, both of Fergus Falls, have been a couple for 31 years. They own a home and work together at Flamingo Glass.
Though the life they share without a piece of paper proclaiming a marriage between them has become the norm for the pair, they think it’s a good thing that gay marriage in Minnesota took another step toward becoming a reality Thursday.
“Slavery was a bad thing and we had to get over it,” Martz said. “You just have to treat people like people. What they do in their bedroom doesn’t matter.”
The Minnesota House passed a measure in support of gay marriage with a 75-59 vote Thursday, which would allow same-sex weddings starting Aug. 1. The state Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Monday, and leaders expect it to pas there, too. Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign it into law as well.
Final passage of the bill would make Minnesota the 12th state in the country to allow gay couples to marry. It would be the first in the Midwest to pass such a law in its Legislature.
Even though the House vote Thursday was a step in the right direction for gay marriage supporters, Messenger was still cautious.
“I guess until it goes through completely, I’m not getting my hopes up,” Messenger said. “If it would go through and people can actually get married, I just hope that other rights come with it.”
He referred to rights for gay couples at the federal level, for things like insurance, retirement and taxes. Both men said their insurance company and investment broker considers them a couple, however.
Martz agreed with the federal rights issue. While he’s absolutely glad the bill cleared the hurdle in the House, there’s still work to be done.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful, other than it doesn’t mean a lot until it gets through federal,” Martz said. “The Supreme Court really needs to do their job.”
Martz and Messenger know other people who’ve traveled to other states to marry. They haven’t decided yet if they will tie the knot, should it become legal in Minnesota. It’s something they will have to sit down and discuss, Messenger said.
“After 31 years, you’re pretty much there already,” Messenger said. “You just don’t have the paper.”
Martz wouldn’t rush into anything, and it might just be a matter of going to the justice of the peace, he said.
Unlike many other same-sex couples out there, Martz and Messenger have enjoyed support and acceptance from those around them in Fergus Falls. Messenger said he feels lucky to have that, and it’s too bad that others have a harder time. It may be a minority, but “all minorities have the right to be accepted,” he said.
“That’s an important issue, too, just being accepted for who you are,” Messenger said. “It’s the person that’s the important part.”
For those who oppose gay marriage, Messenger said it might be that they need to examine their own lives. A lot of people don’t realize it right away, but they might have a family member who is gay, Messenger said.
“And you just don’t decide to be gay or straight, it just happens,” Martz said. “We pay as many taxes as everybody else and therefore, we should be treated equally.”Tags: gay marriage