June 25, 2015
Chris Dock | LPMN Chair
The 43rd annual Twin Cities Pride festival takes place this weekend (June 27th and 28th). The Pride Festival started in 1972, with a picnic attended by about 100 people, and has grown to become a multi-day event that is one of the largest in the nation and attended by approximately 500,000 people.
From our inception in 1972, we have been an unwavering supporter of marriage equality. More precisely, we don’t believe that anybody should need approval from the government to marry the person they love, or to pay the government to have that marriage deemed to be legitimate. A lot has changed in the LBGT community since that first picnic. The Federal government took us a step in the wrong direction in 1996, with the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (the Supreme Court ruled against a key component of that Act in 2013).
Most recently, we took immediate action to oppose a constitutional amendment that had been proposed by the GOP to permanently enshrine a gay marriage ban into our state’s constitution (www.lpmn.org/lpmn_rebukes_gay_marriage_ban_and_voter_id/). Quickly thereafter, our party became one of the founders of Minnesotans United for All Families, a multi-organizational coalition which worked to oppose this gay marriage ban. Our state party’s opposition and mobilization of our Libertarian supporters was crucial, helping to narrowly defeat this hateful amendment by a vote of 52% to 48%, allowing Minnesota to become the first state where a gay marriage ban was defeated by popular vote. Even after that success, we in the Libertarian Party of Minnesota continued working on this issue, supporting the successful effort to repeal the then-statuatory ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for Minnesota to allow gay marriages and helping to build the push for gay equality nationwide.
At the national level, the fight for marriage equality is not yet finished. While same-sex marriage is now legal in the majority of states, many of those states have arrived there reluctantly – their bans were found to be unconstitutional. CNN recently published an informative, interactive map which allows you to see the current status and history of each state’s position on same-sex marriage.
We have never believed that something as important as marriage equality or gay rights should be subject to the whims of political opportunity. Politicians who once opposed marriage equality, but now support it, say they did not publicly support marriage equality previously because it wasn’t the right time politically. In the Libertarian Party, we believe it is always the right time to speak the truth, to fight for what you believe, and to press for liberty and equality for all people, all the time.
On a personal level, the celebratory atmosphere of Twin Cities Pride is a wonderful thing. When I was younger, I had many friends who were gay but were not able to be open about it – hiding their sexuality from their friends, family, and employer, and in some cases denying it to themselves. I can only imagine the emotional strength it took for them to endure that. I hope we are doing a better job today of embracing and supporting our friends in the LBGT community.
I hope you are able to attend Twin Cities Pride this weekend – not only is it a celebration of equality and inclusion, but it is a lot of fun. The LPMN is honored to participate again this year – please stop by our booth, and help us celebrate the beauty and freedom of all people and their relationships.
Concerned about the expansion of government control and the erosion of individual liberty? Please consider joining and becoming active with the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. Libertarians support liberty on all issues, all the time! Libertarianism is a philosophical and political movement to promote personal freedom, strong civil liberties, a genuinely free marketplace, and peace.
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