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 little circle, feeling the pain that the title of this countdown blog has implied, pain that my family's worth should be voted on by a whole state, or that I might lose it and start yelling till I'm dragged away in handcuffs (admittedly much less likely).
Because I don't want to go anyplace scary alone, I made up this list to put in my pocket, to take out and lay beside my ballot while I vote. These people will be at the poll with me today:
Every young person who has been ridiculed, hurt, shunned, shamed or rendered invisible because you are LGBT, or because someone said you are. You are with me as I cast my vote.
All the elders in the LGBT movement for equality who have brought us so far, who have, in my lifetime, created history through vision, perseverance and courage. You are with me as I cast my vote.
All the people of all sexual orientations and gender identities who stood up for equality in the 30 states where these constitutional amendments previously dominated airwaves and kitchen tables. You are with me as I cast my vote.
The people in Maine, Washington and Maryland who will vote today for marriage equality. You are with me as I cast my vote.
The amazing and dedicated staff, many of them unpaid, who have labored for thousands and thousands of hours at Minnesotans United for All Families to create a loving, positive, joyful campaign that is also strategic, focused and transformational. You are with me as I cast my vote.
All the LGBT Minnesotans who braved the most difficult and painful conversations with family, co-workers and neighbors, those who experienced healing and reconciliation and those who now wonder how to sit at a common Thanksgiving table. You are with me as I cast my vote.
All the heterosexual allies who went so far out of their way to stand side by side with LGBT folks in this struggle, who flew in from out of town to canvass, who gave up nights with their kids to make phone calls, who went back again and again for brave conversations of your own. You are with me as I cast my vote.
All the volunteers who, despite lives as busy as anyone else's, stepped forward and worked hard, week after week, month after month, in visible and invisible roles, to make this campaign genuinely grassroots, grounded and life-changing. You are with me as I cast my vote.
All the people of faith who were active and outspoken in this campaign, and particularly the brave Catholics and Evangelicals who spoke out for love and justice, despite being told to be silent. You are with me as I cast my vote.
All the elected officials who took the risk of speaking out for marriage equality, even when they knew it might cost them votes. You are with me as I cast my vote.
And finally, I am taking my own hand as I go into that poll. Even though I am afraid, I will not armor myself from the pain; I will allow it to point me to more love. That is what this campaign has most taught me. When we come together, our love is bigger than any pain, any condemnation, any oppression. Whether the vote goes for or against us today, love will always triumph over fear. Same-gender couples who love each other will continue to do so with or without a constitutional amendment; couples will still commit to one another through sickness and health; children will still know that their family is a loving, supportive place to go home to at the end of the day.
In Minnesota a new, powerful, heart-centered, grassroots movement has been built this year. I am so proud of the work that has been done! Love has already triumphed. Win or lose this election, we have found one another. Nothing can stop us now.
Follow Rev. Meg Riley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MegARiley