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Rev. Meg Riley
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Rev. Meg A. Riley is Senior Minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, a 3500 member Church Without Walls. She has worked in the intersection of religion and culture in a variety of contexts, including serving as Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association's Advocacy and Witness staff group, Office of Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Concerns, Washington Office for Advocacy, Youth Programs, and as a religious educator in several Unitarian Universalist congregations. Riley was the founding director of Standing on the Side of Love (Harnessing Love's Power to Stop Oppression, Exclusion and Violence). She was founding President of the Board of Faith in Public Life: A Resource Center for Justice and the Common Good, and of Equal Partners in Faith. She has served on the national boards of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the Interfaith Alliance, and too many working groups to name.

Entries by Rev. Meg Riley

Why Are White People Afraid to Watch 12 Years A Slave?

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 10:33 AM

Since I wrote my blog last week, "For White People Who Can't Bear to See 12 Years a Slave", I've been talking to many white people, friends and strangers alike, about the movie. Hundreds of white people, actually, along with quite a few African Americans and other people...

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For White People Who Can't Bear to See '12 Years a Slave'

(129) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 11:48 AM

Yet another white person said to me yesterday, "I'm not sure I can go see 12 Years a Slave. It just sounds too painful to watch, and I wonder, why would I want to pay a babysitter so I can be in agony for two hours?"

I've been having these...

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Reflections of a White Parent in a Racist Society

(3) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 1:09 PM

I'm not a celebrity, but I share a trait with many famous actresses -- I am a white woman raising an adopted child who is not white. Tonight I am wondering if Angelina Jolie has warned Maddox and Pax that the police might mistake them for gang members, and to...

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Justice Is Justice

(65) Comments | Posted June 29, 2013 | 2:48 PM

This week's roller coaster Supreme Court sessions have left many liberal religious people queasy -- that's certainly what it's done for us. Both of us are Unitarian Universalist ministers. One of us, a straight African-American woman, is a parish minister in New York City. The other is a lesbian white...

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Minnesota Marriage Equality: Top Ten Reasons this Victory Is So Sweet

(240) Comments | Posted May 15, 2013 | 8:23 AM

With the flourish of a signature, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton declared yesterday that, "Love is the law." Here are my top ten favorite reasons that this victory is so sweet.

1. The self-righteous, narrow-minded, divisive thinking that led Republicans to put constitutional bans on same sex marriage into constitutions in...

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The Minnesota House of Representatives Is Voting on My Family Today

(12) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 10:49 AM

It feels real now. Today I'll be driving over to the Minnesota capitol in a carload of clergy and I'm sure that our conversation will turn to the practical considerations wrapped up in, "How will we officiate at all these new weddings?"

What a great conversation to have! If things...

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On Tuesday, Minnesota Voted on My Family

(9) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 3:14 PM

On Tuesday, Minnesotans voted on my family, and they voted against excluding us in the state constitution. Yep, they did. You betcha.

All the LGBT people I know, and people of all orientations who spent these last months focused on the campaign, have been pretty much falling apart since then....

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Today, Minnesota Votes on My Family

(11) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 11:42 AM

I will confess that I dread going to the poll today, which I am planning to do soon, despite the rain, so that I can go out for one more long day of Get Out the Vote work.

I am afraid that I might cry as I fill in that...

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1 Day Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(4) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 3:39 PM

Wow. When I started this blog series, 99 days seemed close for the election; now, barring the kind of recounts that Minnesota is becoming famous for, we are within hours of the whole thing being decided!

Today in the No Vote campaign, we will focus heavily on door-to-door...

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4 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My family

(12) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 3:23 PM

I'm sitting in the Get Out the Vote section of Minnesotans United for All Families' Minneapolis (Loring Park) office, welcoming and logging in volunteers who are here to do phone calling to voters for a few more days. I decided to take the week off from work and give the...

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6 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family (VIDEO)

(38) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 10:10 PM

With all the scary weather out East, Minnesotans have continued going about our business in the landlocked Midwest. Even as we ramp up our get-out-the-vote efforts, folks are still having conversations with people we know about the marriage amendment. The election is now so close you can almost touch it.

...
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13 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family (VIDEO)

(1) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 5:11 PM

As we get closer, the "how will I feel on Nov. 7 if we lose?" question is with me, even as I put in a final haul to win. And here's what I've realized: Win or lose, this campaign has been a huge gift. It's woken me up from a...

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20 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(3) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 12:38 PM

After reading descriptions of all the horrific things that people say on the phone that I posted in my last blog, folks may wonder why it's worth trying to have phone calls or conversations with people they know who are against marriage equalilty.

In fact,...

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25 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(3) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 3:59 PM

Whew! We are getting close to the election! There are weeks, not months, left to fight this thing! My old D.C. friends, who look at things like numbers and polls from the national level, tell me it's a foregone conclusion that we're going to lose this fight. Our own polls...

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32 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(10) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 9:09 PM

I woke up Wednesday not knowing where I was or what day it was. (I was in my own bed. It took me a considerable amount of time to figure that out, and several more hours to remember what day it was.) I think my disorientation was somehow related to...

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36 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(17) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 7:00 PM

I'm on the road this week, out east, not in Minnesota. Not doing anything about the fast-approaching election. I've had a little time to reflect from a different angle.

I was remembering years ago, when my now-16-year-old kid was about 5, and I went to the neighborhood potluck back in...

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41 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2012 | 8:01 PM


This past weekend was "house party weekend": Minnesotans gathered in houses all over the state to raise money and energy for the campaign. We know the ads from the other side are going to start soon, and we're all geared up with our own.


I read this morning on Facebook that over $8 million has been raised to keep "vote no" ads on TV, and I'm delighted and energized by this. Most of it is from Minnesota. Most of it is in small bits, though there are some generous people of means involved, as well.

While I'm glad that the money is being raised, and while I know that we need those "vote no" ads to duke it out with the "vote yes" ones, I'm much more focused on volunteer involvement. Here's my 2-minute stump speech for house parties, given when I'm not too busy being the bingo caller:

I really want to win this thing. I'm old. I've been kicked around a lot after 34 years out as a lesbian, and I'll survive a loss. But my 16-year-old threatens to leave Minnesota if we lose this, saying, "Why should I live in a state that has said clearly it doesn't want my family here?" So there are three things to know about winning this:
  1. It is winnable. We can keep this out of our constitution. Minnesota could make history as the first state to do so, after 30 other states have lost their fight.
  2. If the vote were held today, our side would lose. No poll has yet shown us winning, and the ads from the other side will put a dent in our numbers when they start up.
  3. The difference between a "yes" vote and a "no" vote is a personal conversation. Poll after poll shows that about 25 percent of folks planning to vote against us change their vote if they have a thoughtful, heart-centered, respectful conversation with someone.
Which leads to my pitch: The difference between our winning and our losing is you. Are you going to get active, talking to people you know, canvassing, phoning? If you thousands of us do, we can absolutely win this thing! If thousands of us sit back and feel bad about the poll numbers, we won't!

End of party pitch.

So, dear Minnesota readers, thanks for telling me that you like my blog, but if you really want to make my day, tell me that my blog inspired you to get off your butt and do something! We're coming down to it here. It's time to make a weekly commitment to help; put it on your calendar and do it. Phone, canvass, commit to talking to 25 people you know (and take the training about how to do that effectively; the campaign folks have really figured out some stuff!)

Meanwhile, I myself am out in Massachusetts for work this week, where the sky has not fallen and heterosexual marriages still seem to be as strong as ever, after all these years of marriage equality. It's beautiful here, but I can't wait to get back home again and get back to work on this...

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46 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(2) Comments | Posted September 20, 2012 | 8:06 PM

Well, I went back for another round of phone banking last night, and I was kind of crabby about it. "How do I always end up in this situation?" I asked myself.

The situation: I had decided in May that leading trainings on talking to people you know was my...

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53 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(1) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 7:35 PM

I finally did phone banking. I'd been avoiding it the whole campaign, telling myself I would hate it. But I noticed in the trainings for talking to people you know that, consistently, the folks who had done phone banking were more skilled at the conversations. So I wanted to go...

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56 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

(2) Comments | Posted September 11, 2012 | 12:31 PM


2012-09-08-tshirt.jpgThe most basic act of voter education and persuasion that I incorporate into daily life as the anti-gay-marriage amendment approaches in Minnesota is to walk around in a T-shirt that says, "Vote No: Don't Limit the Freedom to Marry."

Based on my experiences,...

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