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We Will Win This Fight!

By Lavender June 16, 2011

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Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single person who has spoken up on behalf of dignity, freedom, and equality for all Minnesota families.

It breaks my heart to report that in the final days of session, the Minnesota Legislature saw fit to pass a constitutional amendment ballot measure asking the voters of Minnesota to close the constitution, and equal protection of the law, to fellow citizens. This was a cynical play to a vocal minority, and a blatant effort to distract folks from their failure to solve our budget and economic crisis. This action will touch off an 18-month campaign of anger and bitterness fueled by millions of dollars pouring in from out of state. As we’ve seen in 29 other states, they will rely on caricatures, distortions, and fear to pass their measure.

But this letter is one of hope and optimism.

We will win this fight! We’ve only just begun, and we already have so much to show for our efforts.

Six major national mainstream public opinion polls in the last few months show a majority of America citizens are in favor of gay marriage.

A recent Twin Cities Star Tribune poll shows that 55 percent of Minnesotans plan to vote against the amendment. Only 39 percent are in favor. This is a complete reversal of a few years ago. The strongest support comes from young people. 18 months from now, even more young people will be of voting age.

Throughout the campaign to defeat this legislation, dozens and dozens of heroes have emerged—in the halls and in the chambers of our Capitol, and in every legislative district across the state. Our community and our allies have stepped forward in unprecedented ways. I have been deeply moved by the daily displays of courage, the incredible stories of commitment, love, and community, pouring our hearts out in order to connect, one human to another. Thousands rallied for days at the Capitol, and engaged their elected representatives directly. Minnesota saw our families and us in a way that many never have. We turned the tide, and swayed a lot of votes, but it was just not quite enough. But we won “forward.” We built a movement.

The other side was cowed into silence, clearly ashamed of what they were doing, realizing too late that they were making a very grave political mistake. A sizable number of legislators were forced to go along, lacking the courage of their consciences. Both the cynics and the true believers among them knew any articulation of their reasons for pursuing this effort would only cause more Minnesotans to disagree with them. Their effort to distract folks from the real work of the session, jobs and the economy, backfired, and only served to highlight their failures and their overreach.

We are about to do the hardest thing that many of us have ever done in our lives. But we’re up to it. We are a strong, resilient, loving people.

We will replace the scorched-earth campaign tactics of our opponents with stories of the love, commitment, and responsibility at the core of our families. The only thing this whole debate is about is whether people are able to have access to the things that keep all families strong—economic, legal, and civil protections. We will build an incredible coalition of allies from across the political spectrum and from every sector of Minnesota life to help us reach the hearts and minds of every Minnesotan of every belief and political persuasion, across the countryside, in every hamlet, town, and city.

We are already building a grassroots campaign, and laying plans to raise the resources we need.

Many others are under similar attack: women, low-income families, the disabled, communities of color, new Americans, and labor. We will stand with them, and they will stand with us.

Our democracy is the ever-unfolding story of struggle to keep the promise of equality in the eyes of the law, everyone deserving of human rights, dignity, freedom, and opportunity. Democracy is very demanding of its citizens. The next 18 months will demand a lot from every single one of us: internal fortitude, time, money. We will have to take great risks in our personal and professional lives: coming out; telling our stories; asking our friends, families, neighbors, and coworkers for support. But in the end, we will have changed Minnesota for the better, and our democracy will have made a great advance.

We do this to honor those who have come before us and sacrificed so much for the life we enjoy, and we do this to leave a better state for all of those who follow.

Thank you again for your commitment to social justice and a better future.

You can sign on to the campaign to defeat this thing at www.minnesotansunitedforallfamilies.org.

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