Minnesota Whoa!

By Kathleen Campisano, Task Force faith organizing manager

The author Kathleen Campisano with Gov. Mark Dayton and Task Force staff and family at the bill signing.

The author Kathleen Campisano with Gov. Mark Dayton and Task Force staff and family at the bill signing.

Feet from where Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton was signing the freedom to marry into law, I took pause to just say …. Well, whoa!

I have had the privilege to work for family justice in the LGBT community since 1995. I still remember being skeptical that the federal conservatives really needed to enact DOMA – like they would ever have to ‘worry’ about interstate marriage for gay folks. Whoa … was I ever wrong!

I looked out at thousands of Minnesotans cheering to the governor’s words. I saw Margie and Jo at the front of the crowd, a couple who I encouraged to “just volunteer once” during the ballot measure fight when I did my 5-month regional leadership gig in southern Minnesota. Whoa … look at them, now seasoned advocates, proud to claim this victory.

I also saw many members of the legislative field team in the VIP section, simply beaming with pride knowing that we brought about exactly what many legislators needed to feel confident to vote YES. Our constituent contact plan was second to none and empowered many people to become quite invested in how their legislator would vote. How we inspired people to action was as important as the constituent calls, visits and postcards. Whoa … long-term change afoot.

I stood next to Sen. Roger Reinert, who blew me away with his valliant speech about his family linking economic and racial justice with risky isolation just because you are different before he voted yes for marriage. “Call me Roger,” he said. Whoa, I thought.


Task Force team members were in view too. The Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel, who led a vigil on the Capitol steps and soulfully sang her heart out in the Capitol Rotunda, helping keep the crowd grounded during the Senate debate on Monday. And of course, I spied my wife Sarah, who inspires me to be a creative organizer where ever I go. Our hopes and dreams now get shared with thousands of couples just like us.

Whoa … I think my new lucky number just might have to be 12.