It’s been three-and-a-half years since Iowa legalized same-sex marriage. MPR recently ran a long piece on what has changed since that historic Iowa Supreme Court vote.
First, no lawsuits:
When the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, it was out of step with public opinion on the matter. But polls show acceptance among Iowans has grown since the ruling. There have been no lawsuits.
Second, no children are being “forced to learn about the ‘gay lifestyle.’” Instead, legalization of same-sex marriage may actually increase the quality of teachers attracted to Iowa:
Decorah School Superintendent Mike Haluska says legalization of same-sex marriage has not changed what’s taught in schools.
“As far as our curriculum is concerned, it hasn’t changed in regard to that,” Haluska said. “Conversation maybe in government class has changed just because it’s now the law, but curriculum, no.”
Haluska believes he has been able to attract top teachers because Decorah is seen as a welcoming community.
Amalia Vagts works for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and had this to say about the difference same-sex marriage has made in Iowa:
The reality is it hasn’t made a difference in most people’s lives… and it’s made a very positive, wonderful difference in some people’s lives.
And that’s just what would happen here in Minnesota. If we defeat this mean-spirited marriage amendment, for the majority of Minnesotans, there would be no impact. However, defeating this amendment would send a very clear message to committed same-sex couples: The citizens of Minnesota stand with you and support equality for all. Don’t let amendment supporters confuse the issue with their misleading advertisements and downright lies. Just take a look at what’s happening (or not happening) just south of our Minnesota border…
MPR posted an article this weekend highlighting the fact that both sides of the amendment debate would be out in full force at the Minnesota State Fair – also known as the Great Minnesota Get Together.
According to MPR:
Inside the fairgrounds, Minnesotans United has its first booth at the fair, an orange and blue shack ringed by people waiting to make donations, buy T-shirts or pick up a free “Vote NO” fan on a stick.
A half-block away on the same street, marriage amendment supporters have their booth… Autumn Leva, a spokeswoman for Minnesota for Marriage, a group that supports the amendment, said fair-goers are signing Marriage Protection Pledge forms and entering their marriage proposal contest.
The article provides some good quotes from state-goers themselves – from both opponents and supporters of the amendment. From the sounds of it, folks aren’t shy to share their support of the amendment at the Sate Fair – that’s where Minnesotans United volunteers come in. As we continue to tell our stories and talk to voters about the negative consequences of this amendment, we begin to change minds. Maybe not over night, but I truly believe that we’ve come a LONG way in the last year.
If you’d like to volunteer at the State Fair and help get out the Vote NO message, check out my blog post from earlier today.
And while you’re out there volunteering, don’t forget to check out the delicious Spam Curds!
Wouldn’t it be great if every day I could post: “[xyz] opposes marriage amendment!” This week, we’ve seen amendment opposition continue to grow. Both Mankato and Augsburg College have spoken publicly about their opposition to the mean-spirited amendment.
According to MPR:
The announcement Tuesday makes the Minneapolis liberal arts school the first traditional university in the state to come out against the amendment. The Minneapolis-based online institution Capella University has also gone on record against it.
Freedom to Marry posted this 30-second video on Thursday and it’s already received over 20,000 views on YouTube. The video features a Duluth couple talking about the happiness they’ve experienced through their 59 years of marriage. In the last 10 seconds of the ad, the husband asks:
Why shouldn’t other people be able to enjoy the happiness and the love that we’ve enjoyed through our lifetime?
The commercial is also the first of the campaign to air on television. Tonight, a friend asked me, “Have you seen that commercial on TV with that older married couple talking about the amendment?”
According to MPR, the ad buy is in the mid-six figures and it’ll air in both the Twin Cities and Duluth for a the next several weeks. MPR also shares a little bit more about the Duluth couple, Yvonne and Fred Peterson who appear in the ad.
Overall, I like the spot. I’ll provide additional thoughts in a coming post.
I’m going to ask you to take a moment and think about the following scenario:
You meet the love of your life in college and you spend nearly 25 years together in a committed relationship. Even though you can’t get married in your home state, you travel to another state that recognizes your relationship and you get married. Sadly, a couple years later, the love of your life passes away. Unfortunately, your home state doesn’t recognize your marriage and so your status is relegated to “roommate.”
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, this is the the real-life story of James Morrison and Thomas Proehl. Proehl passed away last year and under Minnesota’s “Defense of Marriage Act,” their marriage wasn’t legally recognized. The result: $250,000 of assets and inheritance would have reverted to Proehl’s parents (even though they wanted the assets to go to Morrison).
According to Morrison:
I worked with everyone from the federal government to state government to try and find resolution. What I found was a great deal of sympathy and empathy, but the law just wouldn’t allow them to resolve our estate without having to go to court.
The courts agreed with Morrison. According to MPR:
Judge Jay Quam agreed that under the state’s probate laws, same-sex married couples “should be treated in death like any other married couple.”
One can barely even think about what it would be like to lose their other half, let alone having to fight to even defend that your love was real and mattered. Morrison shares:
My hope is this will at least make a small difference, and people hopefully begin to put a face to their neighbors and families and realize why this is so important.
If you’ve ever wondered why there is so much passion from those who oppose the mean-spirited marriage amendment, let this be just one of many examples. What happens if we amend the Minnesota state constitution to further limit the rights of committed same-sex couples? Hopefully, we won’t have to find out…
They’re coming to us. They’re saying what we can do in our community to help pass this amendment.
Andy Parrish, Deputy Campaign Manager, Minnesota for Marriage
Parrish shares that businesses and other organizations in Minnesota are approaching Minnesota for Marriage to determine how they can help in the fight to pass the amendment this fall.
More evidence that we need to be prepared for quite a showdown this fall.
Last week, I shared a story from MPR that spoke about the strong support marriage amendments have received from the African American community. In response to the post, some have asked the question, “Why would we single out the African American community, when we don’t do that with other groups?” In response, I would say that analysis does indeed single out many groups’ level of support. Polling numbers are sliced and diced in a plethora of ways. When we do that, we continue to see common trends around the support for marriage amendments:
- Higher support among older Americans
- Higher support among Republicans
- Slightly higher support from males
- Higher support from those that have less education
- Higher support from those that identify as Catholic
Now, does this mean that all Republicans will vote for the amendment? Of course not! Thankfully, we’ve got many Republicans on our side (we’d have no hope of defeating this thing in Minnesota if we didn’t). Similarly, it does not mean that all African Americans will vote for the amendment either. However, ignoring trends from previous elections because we don’t want anyone to feel singled out is a sure way to lose this election.
We need to talk about what the reality is and find ways to influence those voters. Just the other day, the Washington Post shared the story titled: “Obama and same-sex marriage: Will his stance cost him the African-American vote?” In the article, the Post shares the words of Reverend William Owens, a minister and vocal opponent of marriage equality:
Claiming to speak for thousands, he connected the prevalence of same-sex marriage to the collapse of the African-American family. And he threatened the president with a widespread revolt by black voters on Election Day. “He has not done a smart thing,” Owens said.
The Post references how other news organizations had picked up the story with headlines like, “Obama’s support for gay marriage ‘might cost him the election’” and then goes on to talk about how that reality is not a likely outcome.
However, if pre-polling and exit polling numbers are any indication, it is likely that many African Americans will vote for the marriage amendment (along with Republicans, males, older voters, less-educated voters and others). The question that we need to ask is: How do we make sure we amp up the conversations we’re having with ALL of these folks.
I still don’t fully understand how anyone (regardless of who it may be) could vote to limit the freedoms of another group within the state constitution.
Note: As I find analysis of polling numbers, I’ll continue to post. It’s not to single out any group (Republicans, Catholics, African Americans, etc.), but rather to highlight where we may need to do some extra work. If you’ve been following me since the beginning, you understand that my approach through all of this centers around two things: 1) Defeating this amendment and 2) Love. We all need to come together and figure out how we defeat this thing, and sometimes, that’s going to require us to have some uncomfortable conversations. Through all of this though, we need to remember why we’re fighting: because of love. Together, I think we can beat this thing in Minnesota, but make no mistake, it’s going to require a lot of work to do it. I hope you’re with me.
GREAT article from MPR calling out Minnesota for Marriage on intentionally misleading voters. Minnesota for Marriage makes the following claim in a video on their web site:
When same sex marriage was imposed by the courts in Massachusetts, for example, second-graders were taught in public schools that boys could marry other boys.
MPR highlights the following facts:
- The amendment fight in Minnesota is not imposing same-sex marriage in Minnesota. The amendment fight in Minnesota is about updating the constitution to define something that is already law in Minnesota (marriage is between opposite sex couples)
- Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004 and didn’t change rules about what is taught in schools
- Since 1993, Massachusetts law has required curriculum to “foster respect for gender, cultural, and racial diversity.” The education department does not dictate specific lessons or books, nor do they mandate same-sex or opposite-sex marriage education
- The book in question was about ethnic diversity, racial diversity and included a same-sex couple
- Groups making these claims cannot say how many schools (or what schools) in Massachusetts are teaching same-sex marriage
Amendment proponents have made similar claims in other states and we can expect to see more of it here in Minnesota. When they do, let’s make sure that voters in Minnesota know that there’s deception afoot!
We’ve been polling the amendment for over a year and our most recent poll shows the race unchanged with support for the amendment in the mid‐fifties. And, every time the voters get a chance to vote on marriage, they affirm marriage as between one man and one woman. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we expect Minnesota to be the 32nd state to define marriage as between one man and one woman in its constitution.
Chuck Darrell, Communications Director, Minnesota for Marriage
Source: Minnesota Public Radio
Chuck Darrell in response poll results released in early June that showed more Minnesotans opposing the marriage amendment on ballots this fall. I blogged about the results yesterday and my message was very fitting in reading Darrell’s response. It is far too soon to celebrate as Darrell and team fully expect Minnesota to be the 32nd state to write discrimination into the state constitution.
Neat post from MPR that talks about various priests in Minnesota speaking out against the marriage amendment. With over 1,000 years of service to the Catholic Church, the article captures thoughts and a couple good quotes from these retired priests. Additionally, MPR has reposted a letter that was submitted to the Star Tribune by Fr. John F. Brandes, Fr. Thomas J. Garvey and Fr. J. Timothy Power. The letter concludes with:
We write now to say that there is not just one way for Catholics tovote in November. We ask you to consider voting “No” this November on the Marriage Amendment. We feel that our church is stronger when both sides of an issue are part of the public dialogue. Thank you for your consideration.
Progress. It may be slow, but every day, we move forward bit by bit.
In a Commentary piece for MPR News, Adam J. Copeland does a fantastic job helping to demystify the notion that all Christians are voting for the Minnesota marriage amendment this fall. He shares 5 key points:
- There is no one Christian position
- We all support families
- Gay and lesbians are not “others” or “alien;” they are our neighbors, our family members, our coworkers and our friends
- The Biblical argument is hotly contested
- Traditional labels do not always apply and may not be helpful
Mr. Copeland concludes the article in a way that still gives me goosebumps. He shares that he indeed will be voting against the amendment, however, that’s not the point his readers should take away:
More broadly, I hope Minnesota conducts the looming debate in a way that might make us all proud, whether or not our position wins a majority vote.
Diversity of opinion is part of what makes our state great. We can show our Minnesota values by debating our differences with civility, humility, and kindness.
Kudos to you, Mr. Copeland. And thank you for sharing the story of the Pastor and his “vote no” yard sign.
About a month ago, I posted about questions that surfaced around donations from pro-amendment backers. There were several claims that false reports were filed and that actual donors’ names were not disclosed which violates the law. Minnesota for Marriage listed only seven donors, which accounted for a little over $2,000 of the $830,000 they raised last year.
Minnesota Family Council CEO and Chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, John Helmberger, responded:
Let me state emphatically: even though new campaign finance regulations exceed the requirements of the law and violate our Constitutional rights, I have followed them to a “T.”
Interesting how Helmberger is so concerned about his own constitutional rights… Here’s hoping investigators find out the truth; if people are going to donate to this mean-spirited amendment, the public deserves to know who they are.
Note: Here’s another take on this story from Think Progress.
For those that are looking for more background on the Minnesota marriage amendment, MPR News has put together a great article that provides the history of same-sex marriage in Minnesota, arguments for and against the amendment, insight into what is happening in other states and more. A great introduction for those looking to learn more about the amendment – on both sides.