Friday, May 26, 2006

Good News from Minnesota

Earlier this week I received the following message from OutFront Minnesota – the state’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) support and advocacy group:

“Under the Minnesota Constitution, the Legislature was required to end its regular session on Monday, May 22. Bills not approved by that date have failed. And this year, for the third year in a row, the Legislature has adjourned WITHOUT approving a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would bar any form of legal recognition for same-gender couples and their families in Minnesota.

“As a result of our community’s work, Minnesota joins five other states which have defeated similar proposals. There’s a lot to be proud of in this outcome. It’s time to celebrate!”

This is good news, indeed. And I’m honored to have been part of the efforts to defeat the proposed Minnesota marriage amendment. In particular, I’m proud of the work that the
Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) did to defeat the amendment.

As I noted (as executive coordinator of CPCSM) at our May 8 Annual Community Meeting, both CPCSM and its Catholic Rainbow Parents initiative played an important role in facilitating a proactive and ongoing response to the proposed amendment – primarily by bringing together a range of faith groups to counter the November 2005 “Pastors’ Summit” – a gathering of fundamentalist Christians, including some Catholic priests, that sought to instruct pastors in ways of supporting and promoting the amendment within their congregations.

CPCSM also hosted a number of other events that educated Catholics about the full ramifications of the amendment for GLBT people and their families. One of these, a March 20, 2006 panel discussion at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church entitled “Putting a Human Face on the Marriage Amendment Issue,” drew a record crowd for a CPCSM-sponsored event.

The e-mail message from OutFront Minnesota, as well as reminding us of our victory in defeating the amendment, also asks: “Does this mean we’re done?” Clearly it doesn’t. For as OutFront notes: “Those who have spent the past three years promoting this harmful amendment [including, tragically, the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis] have made it clear that they intend to use it – and GLBT families – as an issue in this fall’s campaign.

“If we ever hope to see a time when our community is not the legislature’s perennial punching bag, we need to identify and support candidates for elective office who are advocates for fairness and justice for all Minnesotans, including GLBT Minnesotans.”

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