Ain't They Grand?

WATCH: Minnesotan Grandparents Endorse Freedom To Marry

Yvonne and Fred Peterson of Duluth, MN have been married for 59 years, which Fred calls the happiest of his whole life.  In the heart-warming new television ad from Freedom to Marry’s “Why Marriage Matters” campaign, Fred and Yvonne ask, “Why shouldn’t other people be able to enjoy the happiness and love we’ve enjoyed through our lifetime?”

Perhaps instrumental in the Petersons’ endorsement is their grandson, who happens to be gay — Yvonne admits that if you had asked her in the past if gay people should be able to marry, she would have said no. But Fred concedes that the times indeed are a-changin’: “Gay and lesbian people want to get married for the same reason that I wanted to marry my wife.”

“Why Marriage Matters” is Freedom to Marry’s national public education campaign designed to share stories and foster conversation about the love and commitment that forms the basis for marriage.

“The Petersons highlight the very reason public education is so important in the fight for marriage for all committed couples,” said Thalia Zepatos, Freedom to Marry’s Director of Public Engagement. “They started out with an opposing view and have come to see that marriage for everyone benefits us all. Local stories are the best conversation starter – and conversation is the best vehicle for helping people to see that the protections and responsibilities that come with marriage should be for everyone, no matter whom they love.”

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  • mike

    Then the state shouldn’t be allowed to restrict polygamy or marrying your cousin/sister/aunt..if you oppose any of those adult relationships then people have every right to reject gay relationshis

  • jay

    Oh Mike, here we go again – you’re confusing marriage with legal rights.

    While I”m sure some gays may feel only the need to have their relationship officially ‘blessed’ for approval by the government, church, and other establishments (something that you’re clearly against based on your own beliefs – and that’s fine as most are not seeking your personal approval), the majority of gays are seeking the legal protections that automatically come along *with* marriage.

    Most would like to be able to leave their share of their home, life savings, or personal possessions to a partner without having to face excessive government taxation (inheritance and estate taxes), Most would like to plan their partner’s funeral without facing the partner’s family legal interference. Most would like collect their partner’s social security upon the others death… the same social security most gays have been heavily paying into as I’m sure you have. Most would even like the protections that parts of divorce affords them: ‘you mean that even though I’ve been writing you personally a mortgage check for all these years, because the house is just in your name, you have the right to throw me out because now you’ve realized you’re straight and want to marry a woman?’ Or… ‘I better work out our problems, as I’ll loose everything in a divorce’.

    I know, lots of death and taxes and there’s certainly more to ‘marriage’ than that, god yes, but possession is indeed 9/10th’s of the law. It’s kinda like what I”m guessing your position is on the government’s leftist heavy handedness – keep your hands off my money, property, life, guns, beliefs, and let me live in peace as long as its within the realms of the law. Gays seeking marriage (by default) is that law.

  • Mie

    @jay: at least you had a meaningful reply unlike the other commenter. My argument stands..if you can give reason’s as to why those other non-traditional(well in the USA at least) *adult* relationship’s shouldn’t be allowed then you can’t expect people to agree with gay marriage. Personally I wish the state would get out of marriage completely that way it’s left to the church and personal ceremonies..but more importantly no individual or business would be forced to recognising gay marriage by the law..I support that Baker who refused to make a cake because he’s standing by his values over profit.

  • Kevin

    Polygamy is clearly different from any sort of normal marriage for more than just moral reasons. Because there are more people involved, much of the legal basis of marriage would have to be changed and a lot of difficult questions answered. Who is the next of kin? Who gets survival benefits, and in what amount? What responsibilities do companies have in terms of FMLA, insurance coverage, etc.? Assuming you had 1 man married to, say, 3 women, what kind of legal relationship would the women have to one another? What kind of joint property rights would they all share? None of that would be covered by current marriage law, so you couldn’t simply expand the current institution of marriage to cover those sort of domestic arrangements. I for one would want to see some sort of recognition but marriage as a legal concept wouldn’t serve that purpose well.

    Regarding incestual relationships, you raise a fair point. Obviously there are issues regarding fertility and health of children but the main reason people object to those relationships is the “ick” factor. I mean, would anyone want to legally bar two people who happen to share the same recessive gene from marrying, even if their children would have a 25% of having a horrible genetic disorder? I’d imagine not, but the actual health risks of having a child with a first or second cousin are actually pretty small. It’s a difficult issue, and reasonable people can disagree, but only because ACTUAL FACTS support the contention that incest has detrimental effects, rather than just irrational biases.

    I think the bigger point is that the current construction of marriage, that is, an equal relationship based on love, is nothing like “traditional” marriage, that is, a legal contract by which a man rents the use of a woman’s labor and/or reproductive tract. Once you accept the new definition, there’s no longer any rational reason to deny it to gay couples.

  • jay

    @ Mie –

    If I ever decide to consume highly unhealthy fried chicken sandwiches made from cruelly treated caged birds, I’ll know exactly where not to go. On the other hand, if I ever desire to have a wedding cake made by a homophobic pastry chef (now there’s an oxymoron) who spends his days making pretty sugar flowers to be placed on delicate lacy whipped cream pettifors… I’ll know exactly where to shop. The marketplace is good in that way, as it gives you a choice of where to direct your money, time, energy, and life… all without penalties, which is something the right worships and has built their foundation upon – individual freedom. I only wish legal protection via marriage for gays was based on their own set principles.

  • Paulm

    Mike just think about WHY those other relationships are illegal. Incest can lead to birth defects, marrying your dog (poor dog!) um if your sleeping with it obviously hurts the animal, not sure what harm polygamy does (who cares if someone has two wives and everyone is ok with it) . Point is gay marriage doesn’t hurt anyone or anything else.

  • paula hare


    WEDNESDAY AT 9;30 PM go to [ ]

  • LadyL

    Why do people keep dragging the church into this issue? Not every straight couple marries in the church, or wants to, and so long as they fulfill all the legal requirements their marriage is legally recognized no matter where they happen to live. Marriage is a legal contract, not a religious one.
    @ Mike: With regards to your argument, it’s worth keeping in mind that some of the very same logic was once used to defend laws forbidding interracial marriage. Your argument is based on emotion not reason.

  • Me

    @mike: how silly. Given you “one man one woman” stance u defend, then incest “theoretically is ALREADY ALLOWED since it falls within ur “one man one woman” prerequisite right? How is it, that despite the ” one man one woman” mantra, it’s still illegal for a father to marry his daughter? Can u explain that Einstein? All this even without homosexual marriages being legal. So ur IDIOTIC,THOUGHTLESS, BELCH of a comment makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE!! It doesn’t take homosexual marriages, to introduce polygamy or incest when IT CAN’T EVEN HAPPEN WITHIN AN EXISTING, HETROSEXUAL ONLY REALITY!!!

  • ChrisDC


    I’ll try. I don’t think you’ll be persuaded by this, but it’s at least a consequence of your position.

    The government can’t get out of marriage unless it gets out of family law. My family have a legal relationship with me that is different from strangers off the street — and even in a more privileged position than the legal relationship I have with my business partner. Legally, my next of kin, are defined in statute (not by my choice) as my parents, followed by my sister — and even her husband is legally part of my family. I didn’t pick either of them either. I got deeply and profoundly lucky with all of them — but that was luck.

    My boyfriend and I have several quite expensive legal arrangements that attempt to empower each other to make decisions for each other. These are routinely ignored. I was one of those folks who ended up in an ICU once. He had the power of attorney to be in my room. The hospital still wouldn’t let him in until my parents (who live 1,200 miles away)could be reached and promised not to sue, which they have the right to do. (They promised not to.)

    My parents are 78 and 76 now. I’m in my late 40’s. At what point does the man who ought to be my husband have to start asking permission from my sister or her husband? They were married by a justice of the peace, by the way, not in a church. The law does not care about the difference — since my sister is straight.

    You no doubt think this is none of your business, but it is. You’re supporting the continuation of all of the above which, for the moment, means that my Mommy and Daddy still have to step forward from time to time to say that it’s OK to be me. They really wish the law you support would butt out and let my husband take responsibility for me the way my sister’s husband takes responsibility for her. I don’t want to eliminate this list of legally defined family — I want to add someone to it. My sister got married without affecting your church at all. She didn’t even need permission from your church. I don’t want permission from your church either because I also support their constitutional right to deny it — as a church. Not by using government as the agents of their theology.

    Thanks for considering that.

  • The Bony Man


    Honestly, Polygamy shouldn’t be restricted. Legal rights should be based on a harms principle. If there’s no harm, there’s no crime.

    Marrying your cousin or sister means that you have a higher likelihood of producing genetically damaged offspring, hence the harm…

  • LadyL

    @ChrisDC: Well said!

  • ChrisDC


    Thanks very much, LadyL. I’d like to think that the Black Congresswoman from Texas, and the Japanese American Congresswoman from Hawaii, who pushed this White Gay kid from Louisiana to go to law school weren’t wasting their time. Maybe they figured there might be a point where I might learn something useful.

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