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 30 prior states--shamelessly hurting families as a Get Out The Vote strategy--backfired spectacularly in Minnesota.
2. Fighting the constitutional amendment on marriage brought together a massive grassroots movement to Vote No, with people working for over a year in our state. Minnesota did our populist history proud!
3. By the end of the Vote No campaign, 27,000 people had talked with people they knew and loved, barely knew, or didn't know at all about marriage, love, commitment, and what kind of state we want Minnesota to be. Conversations were civil, respectful, dialogues, not name-calling or rejection.
4. Wisdom and guidance for these conversations came from the 30 states that had gone before us with constitutional amendments, with veteran organizers from California's Prop 8 spending months in Minnesota helping out.
5. The national organizations got it right, putting themselves in supportive roles for the strong local leadership, which led the campaign.
6. Richard Carlbom, the main man, the head of Minnesotans United for All Families, is self-effacing, humble, kind, personable, and all of the other things we expect Minnesotans to be--not so much what we always expect Really Important Men to be.
7. Rep. Karen Clark, who sponsored the bill in the House, is so clearly beloved that I believed her colleagues who said how much they treasured her, even though they were voting against her bill. Those relationships will continue to evolve, and I suspect some of the naysayers, if invited, will dance at her wedding.
8. A huge multi-faith coalition of people of faith was absolutely essential to the victory. While I am proud of the long-standing support of my clan, Unitarian Universalists, for marriage equality, my hat is off to the Evangelical Lutherans on this one. In Minnesota, they made all the difference. And the vocal Catholics who stood up to the leadership of their faith were deeply inspiring.
9. My 16 year old, and other young people, now have the knowledge of democratic victory in their very cells. Not to mention that they can marry the person they choose!
10. I've already had two conversations with Helen LaFave, Michelle Bachmann's lesbian stepsister, about plans for her wedding. The cake will taste really sweet at that one!