November 2, 2012 by Sarah M
// By Sarah McKenzie //
LGBT advocacy group OutFront Minnesota is planning two post-election events designed to build on the momentum of efforts to fight the marriage amendment regardless of the outcome on Election Day.
OutFront leaders along with Minnesota United for All Families and other groups that have worked to defeat the marriage amendment will have a “United for Our Future” rally on the steps of the state Capitol at 5 p.m. on Nov. 7.
More than 10,000 volunteers have been involved in the campaign, and more than 44,000 people have donated money to defeat the amendment, said Monica Meyer, executive director of South Minneapolis-based OutFront Minnesota.
“This is the biggest movement our state has ever seen for LGBT equality, and that can’t be dismantled by a vote,” she said.
The advocacy organization is also planning an event, “Equality & Justice Summit: Next Steps Forward,” on Dec. 1 at the Hilton Minneapolis to strategize ways to harness energy from the campaigns to defeat the marriage and voter ID amendments. TakeAction Minnesota and Wellstone Action are also collaborating on the summit. More than 10,000 volunteers have been involved in the campaigns.
OutFront is also being honored for its advocacy work Nov. 2 by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Minnesota Council of Foundations at its annual joint conference with the groups’ 2012 Mission and Excellence Advocacy Award.
Phil Duran, the organization’s legal director, was also awarded the Brian Coyle Leadership award from the Human Rights Commission on Sept. 8.
OutFront got its start in 1987 as a 24-hour crisis hotline. Volunteers took calls from people who were facing discrimination for being gay. Some were losing jobs, others facing eviction from their apartments.
Soon the organization shifted into a systems-change, social justice organization. In 1993, OutFront helped pass an amendment to the state’s Human Rights Act that makes it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people in housing, employment, education and public accommodation.
“We exist to make our state a place where people can just be who they are, love who they love and not face any adversity — harassment, violence, discrimination or isolation,” Meyer said.
After the election season slows down, OutFront will turn its focus to gearing up for the 2013 state legislative session. The organization is part of a large coalition working to require Minnesota schools to ban harassment and discrimination aimed at LGBT youth and students with disabilities. Current law bans harassment on the basis of sex, race and religion.