HRC Leading in Minnesota’s Winning Campaign
January 31, 2012 by Guest contributor
The following post comes from Leah Solo, Coalitions Committee Chair, Minnesotans United for All Families:
Since Minnesotans United for All Families launched in May of 2011, just moments after the legislature voted to place the anti-marriage measure on the November 2012 ballot, HRC has been a full partner in the campaign to defeat the amendment. HRC has conducted polling research, hired staff, participated in grassroots efforts, and raised money for the HRC Minnesota Family Freedom PAC (MNFFPAC), which gives 100 percent of its donations to the campaign to defeat the amendment. This week, as we file campaign finance reports in Minnesota, we want to highlight some of the people behind the fundraising efforts.
In September, at the Annual HRC Dinner in Minnesota, Tom Knabel, HRC National Board member, made a plea for contributions to fight the amendment. That effort generated dozens of pledges from $25 to $10,000, and was a tremendous jump-start to our fundraising effort in Minnesota.
Among the donors that night were Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt. Lori was one of the evening’s featured speakers, sharing the stage with Governor Dayton, Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Representatives Walz and McCollum. During her speech, Ms. Wilfahrt told dinner guests the story of her son, U.S. Army Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, who was killed in Afghanistan on February 27, 2011. Andrew was gay, and served under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Though “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, has since been repealed, Lori and Jeff remain committed to defeating measures that would have discriminated against their son.
Lori concluded her moving remarks by saying that her son, and thousands of others, “have died protecting the constitution that a handful of legislators here in Minnesota are so willing to dishonor. I am troubled by the attempt to manipulate our constitution to meet short-term political ends and by the effort to lock discrimination into a document my son died to protect. Andrew was willing to fight for our freedoms and rights, let us fight together for the rights of all LGBT Minnesotans” his mother told the hushed crowd.
As the year continued, there were several more opportunities for people to support our fundraising efforts. From online donations to holiday giving, people gave time and time again. One unique opportunity came during our One Day United house parties, which marked one year to Election Day. Minnesotans committed to defeating the amendment hosted over 100 parties that day, with HRC volunteers hosting five!
Kristen and Jonathan Goldberg from Minneapolis hosted one of those parties. For Kristen, “There is no question for us whether to support HRC and the Family Freedom PAC. All people should be afforded the same rights, and it’s as simple as that.”
Also co-hosting that day were HRC National Board Member Les Bendtsen and his partner Jim Newstrom. According to Les, he and Jim hosted a house party because “there was such a great energy that day – people all across the state banding together to raise awareness and raise money. We wanted to be part of that.”
From $5 to $10,000, HRC members are supporting Minnesotans United for All Families and the effort to defeat the anti-marriage amendment. Want to join the fight? Donate here: http://www.hrc.org/MNBallotPAC.
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