Defeating Marriage Restriction Amendment with Car Decals

Earlier this fall, Richard Herod put a Minnesotans United For all Families yard sign in front of his home that encouraged citizens to “Vote No” on the amendment that would constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage in the state (gay marriage isn’t currently legal here). But Herod’s townhouse association sent an email asking him to take down the yard sign.

“I was upset,” said the 35-year-old who works in the car industry. “So I contacted a sign company and decided to make the message larger than life and have “Vote No” decals made.”

Sunday ā€” nine days before the election ā€” Herod and nearly two dozen friends met in the parking lot of Eagle Bolt Bar in Minneapolis and stickered approximately 200 cars whose drivers wanted the same prominent political advertisement on their vehicles. Herod charged $50 per car and is donating the money to Minnesotans United for all Families, which is in the final days of a statewide campaign to defeat the marriage restriction amendment. Visit Facebook.com/groups/VoteNoMN to learn more about the “Vote No Taking it to the Streets” campaign and to get your car stickered.

“This is our time,” insisted Herod. “We deserve the right to not be written out of the constitution, and to create a conversation that we deserve equal rights. If this amendment fails, which I hope it does, then it sets the platform for the question, ‘how do people who are adopting children have rights in case their spouse dies, or what happens when a partner passes’?” Gay and lesbian Minnesotans currently have 515 fewer rights that straight people.”

Corey Blair, who took part in stickering cars in Minneapolis, was told by his supervisor at work to remove his “Vote No” wristband because, he was told, “it was offensive”.

“In retaliation, I decided to have my car stickered with ‘Vote No’,” Blair recounted. “I felt like it was a slap in the face because everyone else in our office can walk around, talk about their husbands and wives and kids, wear their wedding rings and basically flaunt their marriages in front of me. What’s wrong with me voicing my opinion by wearing a small piece of jewelry saying ‘Vote No’ in support of my beliefs?”

“I think people still think it’s OK to degrade people,” said Herod. “Decades ago we were fighting different fights: the rights of minorities, the rights of women to have equal pay. All these people have equal rights, but why not gays and lesbians? We’re all people, we all pay taxes, we all do our part. So when it comes to healthcare, inheritance, children, things like that, I don’t think we’re second-class citizens.”

Eric Blad and Rick Perry, who “married” in a commitment ceremony nearly 13 years ago in Atlanta, were also on hand to sticker cars.

“I cannot stand the fact that we are limited to not being able to get married,” said Blad. “We knew who we wanted to be with the rest of our lives. When you get into committed relationships, that’s the best thing for it. It’s about love.”

“No matter how you perceive this amendment, gay people are still gonna be in relationships; they’re still gonna have children, they’re still gonna adopt children. At the end of the day, the gay isn’t going to go away.”

“Most of these people who are here (stickering cars) weren’t activists to begin with,” Herod pointed out. “These are people who got inspired by the campaign and wanted to participate. I wasn’t an activist before this started happening, but I got a smack in the face like, ‘this is our time’.”

“It’s important that people everywhere know that they should vote no. If it creates one extra conversation that helps education somebody that this amendment takes away rights from people, then it’s important. This amendment isn’t about whether you agree with gay marriage. This amendment is whether or not you agree with basic civil rights.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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