September 6, 2012
By Jacob Combs
An article in today’s Minnesota Daily, the newspaper for the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul, covers Students United for All Families Vote No, a student group at U of M formed to fight against the ballot initiative this November that will ask Minnesotans whether or not to add a marriage equality ban to their state constitution. And while Students United, a branch of the state-wide group Minnesotans United for All Families, launched just yesterday, they have their work cut out for the next two months, and are planning phone banks, door-to-door education campaigns and voter registration drives on campus.
Zach Walls, whose impassioned defense of his two moms in front of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee went viral last year, spoke to Students United at its first meeting. According to the Minnesota Daily, a freshman member of the group named Austin White-Pentony described Walls’s argument as powerful and effective: “His overall message was that we could wait 10 years for someone else to do something, but we want to look back and realize that our generation is the one that made the difference.”
Those words echo the sentiments of Kate Brickman, a spokesman for Minnesotans United, who told the Daily that the amendment “ties the hands of the younger generation forever. As people change their minds and come to the conclusion that same-sex couples should be allowed to get married, we won’t be able to do anything about it because this amendment will have limited that freedom.”
The point Brickman makes to the Daily is an important one, and underscores the importance of defeating Minnesota’s amendment: constitutional amendments are extremely difficult to roll back, since they require future state-wide ballot initiatives to put the repeal up to a popular vote. State laws can be changed as the make-up of legislatures shifts; constitutional amendments can persist for a long time, because they are difficult (and expensive) to overturn.
In addition, as marriage equality advocates like those in Minnesota begin to ramp up their respective campaigns in advance of the 2012 election, which is now exactly two months away, a new website called The FOUR 2012 has launched, co-sponsored by the pro-marriage equality organizations in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. The FOUR 2012′s aim is to highlight the unique opportunity that 2012 provides equal marriage rights advocates, and the resounding message that wins for marriage equality in four states across the country would send. In the countdown to the election, the website will post new content each day from the marriage equality campaigns in the four states. Check out their first video post below, called Momentum.