This year’s Election Day, on November 2, is the culmination of a number of political races crucial for the GLBT community.
In fact, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Press Secretary Michael Cole recently pointed out, “The State of Minnesota is quickly becoming the number-one battleground for tolerance in the wake of a series of statements from leaders opposing basic protections for LGBT people.”
Cole cited Roman Catholic Archbishop John C. Nienstedt’s refusal to give communion to students wearing rainbow buttons at St. John’s University in Collegeville; Minnesota Family Council President Tom Prichard’s statement that “youth who embrace homosexuality are at greater risk [of suicide] because they’ve embraced an unhealthy identity or lifestyle”; and Republican Candidate for Governor Tom Emmer’s appearing in a new documentary produced by rabidly antigay radio host Bradlee Dean.
The most important state contest is for a new Minnesota Governor to succeed antigay Republican incumbent Tim Pawlenty, who did not seek re-election. Gubernatorial candidates Mark Dayton (Democrat) and Tom Horner (Independent) are both GLBT-supportive. Emmer is vehemently antigay. The winner would have the power to either sign or veto progay legislation passed by the Legislature.
At stake this year are both houses of the Minnesota Legislature, currently under Democratic control. Lesbian State Representative Karen Clark (Democrat), who first was elected to the Minnesota House in 1980, and gay State Senator Scott Dibble (Democrat) both are seeking re-election in Minneapolis. Gay Democrat Kerry Gauthier, who was elected to the Duluth City Council for the first time just a year ago, is running for the open seat in House District 7B.
In Minnesota Congressional races, the key one, of course—which nationally is being watched closely—is in the Sixth District, where archhomophobic Republican incumbent Representative Michele Bachmann is opposed by gay-friendly Democrat Tarryl Clark.
Other positions to be voted on in the 2010 election: Hennepin County Commissioners; Ramsey County Commissioners, County Attorney, and Sheriff; St. Louis County Commissioner; Minneapolis School Board Members; Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justices; and Minnesota Court of Appeals Judges.
As HRC President Joe Solmonese put it, “The stakes couldn’t be higher in Minnesota between moving toward an inclusive and welcoming state versus creating an environment where LGBT youth are told they’re not worthy of being considered full citizens. It’s time for fair-minded Minnesotans to stand up, and say, ‘Enough is enough.’”
For information on polling locations and same-day voter registration, call the League of Women Voters Minnesota/5 EYEWITNESS NEWS General Election Hotline on November 2 at (651) 646-1699 or (800) 555-8772.