Richard Carlbom is Campaign Manager for Minnesotans United for All Families. He has led the efforts to form and execute one of the largest grassroots campaigns in Minnesota’s history. The Vote No efforts over the past year and a half have sweptacross the state and engaged voters like never before.
LM: Since this issue will be hitting stands on November 1 (five short days before Election Day), what actions should our readers be taking today?
RC: First and foremost, if you have not been to your polling location to Vote No on the marriage amendment, make that your first priority. Even if you are not registered to vote, Minnesota has same-day voter registration, so you can still vote today. Polls are open until 8:00 p.m., so make sure you leave enough time to get to your polling location. Once you have voted, please stop by any Minnesotans United office to help with Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts. We need to make sure all Minnesotans who can vote get to the polls.
LM: For those NO voters who still have time to speak with undecided voters, what message should they deliver?
RC: Focus on having open, honest, and respectful conversations about why you are voting no and why marriage—and who should have the freedom to participate in it—is important to you. Focus those conversations on how gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons to anyone else, and how no one would want to be told it’s illegal to marry the person you love. This amendment would single out and exclude some Minnesotans—limiting a basic freedom—just because of who they are, and it would forever deem some people in this state as second-class citizens. Ask them to Vote No on Election Day.
LM: How will today’s election impact Minnesota in the future?
RC: We have a chance to make history on November 6—to become the first state to defeat one of these hurtful amendments. If we do beat this amendment, we can verify that Minnesota is a state that cares about doing the right thing, about treating others the way we would want to be treated, and about not using the constitution to limit a basic freedom for some people in our state. This election has sparked a statewide conversation about what marriage means and who has the freedom to participate in it that will continue long past Election Day.
LM: What has been your most memorable experience from working on this campaign?
RC: I have been impressed over and over again by the broad coalition that has come together to defeat this amendment, with nearly 700 coalition members—businesses, communities of faith, and all political parties—all coming together to say that this is the wrong thing to do for our state. There is no doubt that this campaign has united people in Minnesota like never before, and we are united in defeating this hurtful, freedom-limiting amendment.