Minnesotans voted down a constitutional amendment that would have denied same-sex couples the freedom to marry, marking the first victory against a discriminatory marriage amendment and showing how the tide is turning across America in favor of the freedom to marry.
“Today Minnesotans affirmed that marriage matters for their gay and lesbian neighbors and friends, as for all of us, and refused to slam the door on marriage in the state constitution,” said Thalia Zepatos, director of public engagement at Freedom to Marry and a key adviser to Minnesotans United for All Families. “Now loving and committed couples in Minnesota will be able to work to achieve their dream of crossing the threshold, respected equally under the law.”
In a campaign over the last year and a half, Minnesotans United built a coalition of 700 partner organizations and raised more than $13 million from over 67,000 donors, had 330,000 one-on-one conversations, and made more than two million phone calls, making it the largest ballot campaign in state history. It collaborated with faith leaders across the state to reach voters, enlisting opposition to the amendment from five of the six Lutheran synods in the state.
“Minnesotans United worked doggedly day and night to make the case to voters in heartfelt and personal stories and conversations. They recruited thousands of volunteers for ‘get out the vote’ efforts and powerfully explained why marriage matters over the airwaves, online, and in one-on-one conversations,” Zepatos added. “Non-gay people joined gay people across the states to stand up for freedom and fairness, and move Minnesota closer to the freedom to marry for all.”
Freedom to Marry, a founding member of Minnesotans United, was the largest funder of Minnesota’s battle to defeat the anti-gay attack, raising and investing a total of $1.75 million. In addition to funding, Freedom to Marry provided strategic and messaging guidance and new media expertise and coordination. Freedom to Marry also led the campaign’s public education campaign, developing and running television spots highlighting Minnesota families talking about the freedom to marry.
“As soon as our opponents moved a constitutional amendment to the ballot, Freedom to Marry stepped up with leadership, expertise, and funding that was crucial to making Minnesota the first state to ever defeat an anti-marriage ballot initiative,” said Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families. “The single largest investor in our work, Freedom to Marry provided vital funding support to Minnesotans United and, in addition, led a public education campaign that conveyed in powerful terms why marriage matters to gay and lesbian couples. Minnesota made history and Freedom to Marry was with us every step of the way.”
In 2011-2012, Freedom to Marry invested $4.6 million into the four ballot states – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington – and helped raise another $2.4 million to support public education in the four states, for a total of $7 million this cycle.