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Rev. Meg Riley Headshot

25 Days Till Minnesota Votes on My Family

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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 say we're going to lose.

And still, here we are, giving it the best push we've got! For a lot of gays and allies who have been sitting on the sidelines, it seems that the bubble -- that certainty that we're going to defeat this amendment with yard signs and good will -- is starting to wear a little thin. "Do you really think that we could lose this vote, that this amendment could actually pass?" people ask me frequently, with shock in their voices.

To me, the more interesting question is: "Could we win? Could we actually keep this out of our constitution?" It's true that finally, volunteers are showing up in huge numbers, phone banking and doing the other stuff that really needed to happen months ago. Whether it's in time, I don't know. But I do know that until the last vote is counted, the campaign will be doing as much as it can with all of us who show up.

Teen Intern said yesterday morning, on the way to the Minnesotans United for All Families office, "It's getting harder and harder to go to work. People are being so mean!"

Misunderstanding, I replied, "Well, everyone at the office is under a lot of stress." This earned me a glare. Clearly I had misunderstood.

"No, not my co-workers. They're fine. I'm talking about the people I call on the phone! I'm doing the hard calls, to 'yes' voters, to see if we can pull any over, and they're really mean!"

I tried to redeem myself with a little humor. "Oh, really? Are you hearing a lot about Adam and Steve?"

Teen Intern looked weary. "In a way, I'd prefer Adam and Steve. It would be better than hearing about sex with horses and dogs, and the 'slippery slope.'"

So I came home and decided to make a bingo card for folks who, like Teen Intern, are calling "yes" voters, to give some humor and perspective to the crazy stuff that people throw at you when you're on the phone. I was doing it primarily for my own amusement.

I had a friend once who made such cards when she went to her family's home for Thanksgiving, a tip she picked up from Oprah or Dr. Phil or someone. She would come up with categories like "Looks" and then fill in that column with things like "You need to lose weight," "That color does not look very good on you" and "You need a haircut." That way, the never-ending critiques at her family gatherings could at least earn her a "bingo!" when enough insults had been hurled her way.

Making the bingo card started out fun. Under the category "Slippery Slope" I wrote:
  • Horses
  • Dogs
  • Polygamy
  • Ice cream cones
  • Total chaos/end of the world

That was so ridiculous that it was kind of fun.

Under the category "Religion" I wrote:
  • Adam and Steve
  • Jesus can "cure" homosexuality.
  • Man and woman
  • Love the sinner, hate the sin.
  • Good Catholics must vote "yes."

That was a little less fun. The primness and grimness of the people who say this kind of stuff "in the name of God" began to leak out onto my bingo card.

Under the category "Propoganda and lies" I wrote:
  • Churches will be forced to marry gay couples.
  • Gay people are pedophiles.
  • Without this amendment, marriage will be legal for gay couples in Minnesota.
  • Gay marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage.
  • The Bible says marriage is only one man and one woman.

By now I was feeling kind of gloomy about the whole bingo-card idea, but I had two more columns to fill out: "Families" and "Sex."

Under "Families" I wrote:
  • The purpose of marriage is procreation.
  • Children need one mom and one dad

And then I just sat there sadly. Teen Intern had said earlier in the morning, "I tell them I have lesbian moms, and they say right back to me, without missing a beat, that lesbian moms are not any good, and that kids raised by lesbians are not going to have fulfilling lives or relationships. Don't they know that dissing someone's mom is, like, the rudest thing you can do? Don't they even get it, or care, that they are dissing me right to my face?"

So I kind of ran out of steam and never made it to the "Sex" column at all, even though sex is probably the biggest reason that people are actually voting against marriage equality, though it's not talked about. I put the beginnings of the bingo card away. Teen Intern says it's still worth making these calls, because every now and then, maybe every 20th conversation, a "yes" vote turns into a "no" vote. That's a much better payoff than bingo!

Meanwhile, we're coming into the home stretch. The universe is a mysterious place, and anything might yet happen here in this wonderful state I call home. Onward, Minnesotans! Let's take the world by storm and surprise them all!