- August 1, 2014
One year ago today same-sex couples began to legally wed in Minnesota.
In the 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, where marriage equality is the law of the land, it's important to remember that today's celebrations are the result of years of work by so many who built the foundation for success, as well as for the trailblazers from decades ago who stood up for equality when it was not so popular to do so.
Marriage equality was won in Minnesota through the state legislature and no one fought harder or smarter than openly gay State Senator Scott Dibble. Not only was he the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, but he also spent countless hours convincing his colleagues to do the right thing.
I was fortunate to be in the state house in St. Paul the day the Senate voted on the bill. I was sitting with HRC Board Member Tom Knabel in the Senate gallery looking down as Senator Scott Dibble rose and spoke movingly to his hushed colleagues about why marriage equality was important to him and to so many other LGBT Minnesotans. On his lapel Senator Dibble wore a 1974 campaign pin for Allan Spear. Senator Spear was one of this country's first openly gay state legislators. He also became Senate President. Twenty years ago, his leadership led to the passage of a statewide non-discrimination bill. Senator Scott Dibble acknowledged that he would not be standing in that chamber as a gay man were it not for Allan Spear's courage decades ago.
Let us celebrate not only the one-year anniversary of marriage equality in Minnesota today, but also those whose leadership, vision and courage paved the way.
Congratulations to all the happy couples!