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. I was going to write a final blog yesterday, but I couldn't stop crying and napping. As one sobbing person said to me, "I have just been afraid for so long." The trauma of being singled out to be excluded won't heal quickly, but it will heal. When a friend asked my 16-year-old, that stalwart intern working around the clock for the past five months, what the campaign highpoint was, she said, without even pausing to think, "Winning."
At what eventually (around 1:45 a.m.) became the victory party, I yelled so much that I became hoarse. I hugged friends and strangers and even a few people I know and don't like all that much. It didn't matter. We were all jubilant and proud.
Yep. Winning is sweet. I was talking to some folks who worked hard on Prop 8 in California, and they were crying, too, but not with the relief that folks feel here. Instead, they were crying with unhealed trauma that really can't heal until that unjust law is changed. And it will be. The moment has shifted -- you can feel it -- and nothing can stop the movement now. They'll be rolling it back in California as the Mainers did this week. And way to go, Washington and Maryland! It is so clear to me how Minnesota needed the lessons of 30 other states in order to be the first state to "just say no."
On Tuesday night, a pundit asked a political analyst on a Minnesota station, "So do you think the marriage amendment cost the Republicans in Minnesota the House and Senate?"
"Absolutely," he responded. "No question about it."
That was a campaign highlight for me. As a parent, I'm a big fan of logical consequences.
Meanwhile, my countdown is over, and so is the fear of needing to gear up in the armor that discrimination requires. Life is good. I can't stop smiling.
Of everything I loved about this campaign (and I hope I have conveyed how truly long that list is), my favorite thing is this: It was completely positive. It was a campaign for love. We could have said, "Mean bullies want to put discrimination in our constitution when marriage of same-sex couples is already illegal!" We didn't. We said, "Love is love. I want my uncle/daughter/brother/best friend to be able to marry the person they love." It was a marriage equality campaign. Had we run that other campaign, even if we'd won, we would not be in the position we are now in to move toward full equality.
Here in Minnesota, I am confident that we will have full marriage equality soon. As I said, both our House and Senate went back to the Democrats on Tuesday, and we already had a very fine, supportive Democratic governor. People are ready for marriage equality, and nobody will be dumb enough to demand that Minnesota hold a popular vote on it again.
I'll leave you with my favorite number from this campaign: Some 27,000 people volunteered to help. My faith in the progressive populist Minnesota that I returned to after 10 years in D.C. politics has been restored! This gives me hope for the whole nation, because I think we the people might have enough strength to demand that all the folks in D.C. forget themselves for a while and remember us!
Thanks to all who read this blog through these past months and talked to me about it. Writing it helped keep me sane. I've been glad to hear that reading it also helped you through some difficult days of your own. Some of you I've met, some of you I wouldn't know if I had met, and some of you I'll never meet. But, hey, maybe we hugged on election night!
Follow Rev. Meg Riley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MegARiley