A Word In Edgewise: Friendship—Saying “No!” in NOvember

I’m heartened by the number of straight allies planning to vote “No” November 6, determined to defeat the discriminatory, anti-gay-marriage amendment. The GLBT community needs all the allies we can get, and it turns out we have many.

Last year, thinking of the struggle ahead, Jacob and Michelle Frey, distance runners and allies, organized the Big Gay Race in order, as Frey said, “to mobilize the community and to fight the anti-marriage amendment.”

Some 2,000 turned out in “support of love, commitment, and the freedom to marry for all Minnesotans and their families.” Some three-fourths of the participants were straight, wanting to lend their hearts and legs to fairness and nondiscrimination. You can join this year’s Big Gay Race October 13!

Many churches are welcoming of all who enter their doors, and now even some Roman Catholic priests are lending their voices, bravely speaking out to say that a No vote is not a strike against the faith.

A group representing nearly eighty former priests spoke out in May against the marriage amendment stating that it “violates Christian principles of love and justice.” Fr. John Brandes, Fr. Timothy Power, and Fr. Thomas Garvey, three retired priests who are still part of the church, wrote a letter to the Star Tribune expressing their opposition to the amendment. The letter was not published, but the three were photographed for the press on May 17 and appeared in MPRnews.

Their letter (read in full on the MPRnews site) begins, “Catholics of Minnesota, you have a choice!” and notes, “Right at home here in our own parishes there are gay-lesbian couples who are strong, active, and faithful Catholics. These church members are not only our sisters and brothers in Christ, they are the blood relatives of you and me and of large numbers of our parishioners and friends. They need allies.”

We need to acknowledge and support all of our allies and to use them as examples while talking with straight relatives, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that may yet be undecided. Voices, votes, and money will partly decide November’s outcome but so will action. Chuck Samuelson of ACLU-MN stresses, “If the individuals who think the way we do will work as hard as the people who hate us will, we will win.”

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