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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More on Project 515

Here are their goals according to Lavender Magazine:

Building capacity to achieve equality. Documenting laws that involve married Minnesotans; developing a structure and function to implement their efforts; identifying and engaging new allies to support their mission.

They seem to have documented the laws with their report.

Mobilizing the public. Creating a statewide public advocacy campaign to disseminate through all media information about the 515 discriminatory statutes; being a resource for the media on equality issues for same-sex couples and their families; being a resource for faith, business, and other local communities.

They have started to do this.

Advocating for effective legislative action. This component will include legislative action, including a lobbyist, an electoral strategy supporting a multi-year plan; and active efforts both to strengthen grassroots support networks and to oppose efforts to restrict the rights of Minnesota same-sex couples and their families. Why now? Why another group? Why this one? Because of its singular focus, explains Laura Smidzik, Project 515 board member. While working collaboratively with other GLBT groups and allies, Smidzik notes that, “Project 515 will be exclusively dedicated to, and will stay laser-focused on, the elimination of the 515 statutory inequities to secure equal rights for same-sex couples and families under the law.”

Hopefully they will have a bi-partisan strategy and look at ways to work with the Governor. I'm curious about their timeline for this strategy.

“We need to change the debate,” stresses Lee Anderson, Project 515’s Board Chair. “Minnesotans have really only talked about gay marriage, which polling shows is polarizing and something that most Minnesotans don’t support. But, those same polls show that Minnesotans support fairness for all Minnesotans, including same-sex couples. When we talk about the 515 state laws that treat same-sex couples unequally, people are shocked by the actual discrimination we face. Project 515 will use this broad-based support to advocate for change over time.”

Over time, the support for gay marriage is changing. I don't have problems with discussing gay marriage. Incremental advances will help move the ball forward towards full equality.