Entries from: Minnesota

Marriage equality passes in Minnesota!

Washington, D.C. — Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, issued the following statement today regarding the passage of legislation in Minnesota giving same-sex couples the freedom to marry:
“This is a dream come true for same-sex couples across Minnesota, and for the state’s gay and lesbian lawmakers who’ve worked so hard for this victory.  Their leadership has been powerful and inspirational, and they deserve our thanks for standing up for fairness, for equality and for all LGBT Minnesotans.”
The Victory Fund is the only national organization dedicated to growing the number of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elected officials at all levels of government.  For more information, visit www.victoryfund.org.

dibble clark marriageSame-sex couples in Minnesota won the right to marry today after the state Senate today gave final passage to a marriage equality bill.  Gov. Mark Dayton has vowed to sign it.

Sen. Scott Dibble, who is openly gay, led the effort in the Senate, and openly lesbian Rep. Karen Clark was lead sponsor in the House.  ”Today we have the power, the awesome, humbling power to make dreams come true,” Dibble said moments before the vote, his voice trembling.

“This is a dream come true for same-sex couples across Minnesota, and for the state’s gay and lesbian lawmakers who’ve worked so hard for this victory,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.  ”Their leadership has been powerful and inspirational, and they deserve our thanks for standing up for fairness, for equality and for all LGBT Minnesotans.”

Photo:  Beaumont Enterprise

Minnesota House approves marriage equality bill

karen clark scott dibbleThe Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a bill legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, and the legislation is expected to be taken up by the state Senate in the next few days.

“This is a historic day for Minnesota,” said Karen Clark, the openly lesbian sponsor of the bill.  ”In Minnesota we don’t turn our back on family… Freedom means freedom for everyone.”

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, congratulated Clark and her colleagues.  ”We’re incredibly proud that out lawmakers like Representative Clark are leading the fight to win more freedom for LGBT Americans.  She stood up and asked her colleagues to see her as their equal, and that’s an incredibly powerful request,” Wolfe said.

Sen. Scott Dibble, an openly gay Democrat, will lead efforts to pass the bill in the state Senate.

Photo:  Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota legislature could pass marriage bill by Sunday

minnHot on the heels of marriage equality victories in Rhode Island and Delaware, state lawmakers in Minnesota are also moving this week to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune.

Marriage legislation introduced by openly lesbian state Rep. Karen Clark will get a vote on the House floor this Thursday.  In the Senate, where openly gay state Sen. Scott Dibble is the lead sponsor, the bill could be voted on sometime this weekend.

Officials with Minnesotans United for All Families, the advocacy group working to pass the legislation, say they’re still having conversations with wavering legislators, but so far no Republicans have indicated they will vote “yes,” according to the Pioneer-Press.

The push to allow same-sex couples to marry in Minnesota comes just a few months after voters rejected an effort to add a ban on marriage equality to the state constitution.

Gay city councilman launches bid for Minneapolis mayor

ericroper_1359493510_schiffannounces“I will be a voice for Minneapolis’ forgotten. For those who feel ignored,” Minneapolis City Councilman Gary Schiff told a packed room of supporters as he formally announced his bid for mayor Tuesday.

Schiff, who is openly gay, has proven to be an effective leader throughout his 12 years serving Minneapolis’ Ward 9 on the City Council. In February 2012, a reporter for the Minnesota Daily wrote that Schiff is “possibly the most active and popular City Council member.”

In addition to fighting against healthcare discrimination for the city’s LGBT community, Schiff has authored initiatives including implementing an indoor smoking ban, forcing taxis to take credit cards, and a law to allow local microbreweries.

Last year, the Twin Cities Business Journal named Schiff as Minneapolis’ most business-friendly City Council member, noting his “desire to simplify regulations that make it challenging for businesses to get started.” Over 100 local small businesses have already signed on to support Schiff’s mayoral run. Several of those business owners, along with members of the firefighters union, were in the crowd of supporters at the kickoff event.

Schiff graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1994 with a degree in women’s studies. He hosted his campaign launch at a brewery on campus last night, and his connection to the University promises to play an important role in his campaign and in his tenure as Mayor, if elected.

“I think there are a lot of untapped partnerships between City Hall and [University administration headquarters] Morrill Hall that need to be leveraged so that students graduating know that there will be a job waiting for them when they get out,” he told Minnesota Daily.

According to the Star Tribune, this election will be the city’s biggest test yet of ranked choice voting, which eliminates a primary by allowing voters to list their second and third preferences on the ballot. Schiff is confident in the process:

“I think the nature of instant runoff voting is going to reduce the negativity in this campaign,” Schiff said. “And I think people are going to run on their vision and their ideas for the city.”

Prior to his election to the City Council, Schiff worked with the Human Rights Campaign and Progressive Minnesota as an advocate for LGBT equality. He would be Minneapolis’ first openly gay mayor.

The Victory Fund proudly endorses Gary Schiff for Mayor of Minneapolis.

Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune

Democratic committee formally backs marriage equality

dibbleThe Democratic Party’s platform committee has unanimously agreed to include support for full marriage equality in the document that will be put forward at the upcoming Democratic National Convention.  More than 100 members of the committee approved the language at a meeting Saturday in Detroit, Mich.

Among the committee members who spoke about the marriage plank was openly gay Minnesota State Sen. Scott Dibble (pictured), according to the Washington Blade.  ”This has certainly been a journey for many people in this country. It’s been a journey for our president, and I’m very proud of our president [for] having stood and said all families matter,” Dibble told committee members.

The approved language, which still must be adopted by convention delegates, reads:

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.