Why Marriage Matters: Thoughts from JCA Youth Activist

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Jewish Community Action's youth activist, Aleesa Kuznetsov, sent the following letter to her representatives, urging them to fight for the freedom to marry in Minnesota. In this heartfelt, beautifully written appeal, she reflects on the historic defeat of the marriage amendment and what it meant to her and her parents, who, as Jews in Russia, faced terrible discrimination and hardship, similar to the discrimination GLBT individuals still face in our state. Aleesa then asks her elected officials, who opposed the amendment, to take it one step further, and support the freedom for all loving, committed couples to marry.

Similarly, JCA asks you, the thousands of volunteers and members who joined us on the marriage amendment campaign, to work with us once again for the freedom to marry. You can start by joining us on Thursday, February 14 for the Freedom to Marry Rally. To RSVP, and for more information on the freedom to marry campaign, please contact Gabe.

 

Dear ____________,

My name is Aleesa Kuznetsov and I am currently in 10th grade at Robbinsdale Cooper High School. I am writing to you about marriage for same-sex couples and the opportunity for it to become legal in Minnesota. Recently, Minnesota defeated the marriage amendment which would have not allowed same-sex marriage for all future generations. This achievement has created so much hope for the future of my friends and family! Defeating this amendment was one big step forward; however the next couple steps are out of my hands. I am urging you to address legislation for marriage for same-sex couples in the upcoming session.

As a high school student, it may seem to you that this issue wouldn’t be one of importance, but it very much is. I myself am not gay, however there are many people at my school who are, and many others who may have not come out yet. If same-sex couples were able to get married, kids and teens would be much more comfortable coming out. With legislation in place, people would feel much more accepted by not just their community, but by the state of Minnesota.

Being of the younger generation, people my age generally don’t speak out about this issue. But I would like my voice to be heard. I feel that I need to represent not only my generation, but all future generations. GLBT individuals go through so much hardship just to be treated the same and have all the same rights. They shouldn’t have to do any of that. Being Jewish, we believe in “B’tzelem Elohim,” being created in the image of G-d. G-d created all people in his image and intended that they were all treated equally.

I am also a first generation American. My parents grew up as Jews in Russia and went through much hardship. Because they were Jewish, they were treated unfairly and unequally, just as many GLBT individuals are today. I have heard stories first hand of the treatment of my parents and what they went through. Because of the prejudice against my parents, my parents moved here to Minnesota. I don’t want people who are GLBT to be moving from this wonderful state because they don’t feel accepted.

For all these reasons and more, I urge you to propose and stand by legislation allowing marriage for everyone! Thank you for what you have done thus far in supporting marriage equality. I look forward to this upcoming legislative session and what news it brings.

Thanks Again,
Aleesa Kuznetsov

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