Equality at Issue as MN Amendment Foes Trade Jabs at State Fair


The trademark orange of the MN United for All Families was visible from far away. An army of volunteers sold shirts, hugged clipboards, talked to voters and handed out fans that cooled supporters on a recent steamy day. Up the way, a more subdued atmosphere was present at the Minnesota for Marriage booth. Supporters handed out literature and talked to voters, but the vibe was toned down. That’s not the only difference coming between both sides of the marriage debate-it’s one of equality.

“It is not an equality issue. It has gone down in many, many debates that it is not an equality issue,” explained Colleen Simpson, a supporter of Minnesota for Marriage-the campaign working to pass the Marriage Restriction Amendment.

Every year, the Minnesota State Fair offers up a cornucopia of sites, smells and thrill for the average goer. It’s also a chance to take the temperature of everyday Minnesotans when it comes to politics. This year is no exception.

That’s exactly what both sides of the Marriage Restriction Amendment campaign were doing during the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Organizers of color chatted up supporters who stopped to see how they could get involved in the campaign. MN United For All Families hopes these ambassadors/volunteers will bring out the vote from their respective communities in their favor.

“We really feel that 250,000 communities of color that are going to come out and vote in this election. And, it’s very important that we have our message out there,” says Christian Ucles, the Latino organizer for MN United For All Families.

Latino voters may be Catholic and might lean on the conservative side when it comes to an issue such as marriage equality. But, Ucles says that Minnesota for Marriage should think twice before they can count on their vote for the amendment.

“51% of Latino Catholics are supportive of either civil unions or marriage equality,” says Ucles, referring to a poll conducted by National Council of La Raza-the Hispanic equivalent of the NAACP.

Minnesota for Marriage is adamant that this is not an equality issue. Its arguments rely on highly controversial peer review study that insists children do better when raised by mom and dad. A scholar who audited the peer review process used for the study called it “bullshit”.

“Every civilization that has been successful in this world,from the start of humanity on, has been one-half of humanity coming together with the other half of humanity in the sake of procreation and raising children in the best possible environment” said Minnesota for Marriage supporter Simpson.

The campaign to vote no on the marriage restriction amendment says there is no, “one-size-fits all family”. Families in many communities of color, as Asian-American volunteer Nick Kore pointed out, are tight knit.

“I was raised by my mom and my dad. But, I was also raised by my grandma. I was also raised by my aunts and uncles. That’s something I really loved about my upbringing,” Kore pointed out.

As both campaigns sprint towards November, the conversations about equality and marriage will continue.

Allison Herrera

Allison Herrera, originally from San Luis Obispo, Calif.,  studied media and Spanish at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where she earned her bachelor s. Since moving to the Twin Cities, she has been a news producer for KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio, communications coordinator for Twin Cities Public Television's arts series MN Original, and producer for the Association of Minnesota Public and Educational Radios Stations for the series MN90: Minnesota History in 90 Seconds.

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