Friday, June 24, 2011

Senator Scott Dibble's Message of Hope and Optimism

The Wild Reed’s 2011 Gay Pride/Queer Appreciation series continues with words of hope and optimism from openly gay Minnesota Senator D. Scott Dibble. (Note: To start at the beginning of this series, click here.)

Scott wrote the following (originally published in Lavender magazine) to thank all those who "spoke up on behalf of dignity, freedom, and equality" during the recent effort to prevent passage of a constitutional amendment ballot measure asking Minnesota voters to, as Scott says, "close the constitution, and equal protection of the law," to gay citizens of the state.


We Will Win This Fight

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

– Senator D. Scott Dibble
June 2011


Above: Senator Scott Dibble and his husband Richard Leyva feature in Catholics for Marriage Equality MN's soon-to-be launched video project. This particular initiative is modeled on the It Gets Better Project and involves the establishment of a YouTube channel upon which a number of short but powerful "video vignettes" will be available for viewing. These videos will feature Catholic gay couples, and parents of gay people, sharing their stories and explaining why as Catholics they support marriage equality. For more about how Catholics in Minnesota are changing minds and hearts on the issue of marriage equality, click here.

Above: Sen. Scott Dibble with Catholics for Marriage Equality MN's video project producer Mary Kay Orman (left) and filmmaker Aleshia Mueller.

Right: With Scott at a preview of the "rough cut" of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN's video project – May 2011.

NOTE: For the next in this series, click here.

For The Wild Reed's coverage of the struggle for marriage equality in Minnesota, see the following chronologically-ordered posts:
A Celebration of Faith and Family; A Call for Compassion and Fairness
A Catholic Statement of Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Governor Mark Dayton to LGBT Advocates: "I Stand with You"
Disappointing but Not Unexpected: "Marriage Amendment" Bill Passes MN Senate Judiciary Committee
Rep. Steve Simon on Gay Marriage and the Arc of History
Winona Daily News Calls Proposed Marriage Amendment "Bigoted" and "Malicious"
Catholic Attitudes on Gay and Lesbian Issues: An Overview
Quote of the Day – May 5, 2011
Tips on Speaking as a Catholic in Support of Marriage Equality
Law Professor: Marriage Amendment is Divisive and Mean-Spirited
Opposition to the Marriage Amendment Grows
The Real Losers at the MN State Capitol Today
David Booth on What It Might Mean to "Let the People Decide"
At the Minnesota Capitol, Signs of the Times
MN Marriage Amendment Headed for House Vote
An Eventful Day at the Capitol
Protests Against the Proposed Marriage Amendment Continue
Day One of the Campaign to Defeat the Anti-Family Marriage Ban
Doug Grow on Republican Rep. John Kriesel's Anti-Amendment Speech
Quote of the Day – May 23, 2011
The Political Intrigue (and Money) Behind the MN Marriage Amendment
In the Struggle for Marriage Equality, MN Catholics are Making a Difference by Changing Hearts and Minds

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Dan Furmansky: "Why We Have Pride"
Gay Pride as a Christian Event
Quote of the Day – March 6, 2011

For The Wild Reed’s Gay Pride 2010 series, see:
Standing Strong
Growing Strong
Jesus and Homosexuality
It Is Not Good To Be Alone
The Bisexual: “Living Consciously and Consistently in the Place Where the Twain Meet”
Spirituality and the Gay Experience
Recovering the Queer Artistic Heritage
A Catholic Presence at Gay Pride
Worldwide Gay Pride

For The Wild Reed's Gay Pride 2009 series, see:
A Mother’s Request to President Obama: Full Equality for My Gay Son
Marriage Equality in Massachusetts: Five Years On
It Shouldn’t Matter. Except It Does
Gay Pride as a Christian Event
Not Just Another Political Special Interest Group
Can You Hear Me, Yet, My Friend?
A Catholic Presence at Gay Pride
Worldwide Gay Pride

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

1 comment:

kevin57 said...

I know, Michael, that you don't need any strategy advice from me, but galvanizing 18-30 year olds in MN is critical. They tend not to vote, but gay-rights issues do galvanize them. If there's a strong showing of this demographic in the State, this amendment is going down!