A Winter Storm Warning, frigid temperatures, and freezing rain couldn't stop over a thousand hardy Minnesotans from descending on the state Capitol in St. Paul today for what is annually the country's largest LGBT Lobby Day.
We began gathering at 6:30am and started to set up our tents and stations throughout the Capitol grounds with coffee and hot chocolate readily available to warm up our dedicated staff and volunteers. As people funneled in state representatives and senators stopped by to give their thanks and well wishes urging us to keep at it and continue our amazing work. Greeters and Lobby Day trainers made sure that our supporters were fully welcomed and prepared to meet with their legislators.
The Capitol lawn was filled for our noon rally where Governor Dayton once again reaffirmed his strong support for marriage equality saying, " Religious organizations will always have the freedom to decide who they choose to marry, but under the constitution of the United States - as an American citizen - you have a right to the same guarantees and protections as anyone else. Fundamental to our way of life and society is the freedom to marry the person you love."
With speeches by bill sponsors Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Karen Clark as well as a performance by Mason Jennings revving up the chilly crowd. The energy was palpable with marriage equality supporters fully ready for the final push as we work to pass our bills through the House and Senate in the coming weeks.
It was truly inspiring to see so many committed Minnesotans braving the weather to make this such a successful day. With energy and passion like this, we are well positioned to make Minnesota the next state to pass marriage equality.
Regional Field Organizer Trevor Chandler has been in Minnesota for the past year working with the Minnesotans United campaign. He serves as Political Director of the campaign.