Dear Fellow Minnesotans:
There have been times, in the past 20 years or so, when I’ve wondered what had become of the Minnesota I knew and loved. Decisions were being made and policies were being implemented that seemed to go against everything that I thought made my home state great.
The Minnesota that I was born, raised and educated in was a state that always put the common good first. It seemed we could usually find common ground on the critical issues like education, the environment, health care and human rights. We had DFLers and Independent Republicans and everything in between, but no matter the party affiliation, the best interests of the state always seemed to triumph.
Then things started to change.
Budgets were cut, social services reduced and the government was shut down. Republicans were in power. Democrats were in power. Even an Independent was in power. And nothing seemed to get done. The fair and innovative state that I loved, and I thought I knew, seemed to be fading.
This decades long shift culminated in two initiatives that were introduced last year to change the state constitution: one would require voters to present a photo I.D. to vote and the other would define marriage as between one man and one woman. This was not the Minnesota I knew. But very quickly the Minnesota of my memory began to reclaim itself.
Individuals, faith communities, corporations, nonprofits and coalitions began to mobilize against both initiatives. By Election Day, what had once seemed impossible came to be. The good people of Minnesota rejected both constitutional amendments. I have never been more proud of Minnesota. That is, until today.
Building from the energy that the constitutional victory inspired last fall, Minnesotans seized the opportunity to become the 12th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. This is the Minnesota I know and love.
It is a state that refuses to constitutionalize hate. It is a state that is built on a foundation of equality. It is a state that welcomes diversity. Minnesota is a state that we can all be proud of.