Duluth Gay Pride - 2006
Thank you, my friends. It is so good to be here today – coming together in a great place and coming together in our beliefs in social justice. This is great to see so many of you again. We were together earlier this year when I attended Gay Pride in Minneapolis.
So it is getting to be a regular thing. And that’s just as it should be. It is sad and a shame that so few of our statewide candidates refuse to reach out for social justice in its entirety. I hope all of you agree that the only way we can achieve real justice and equality in this state and in this entire nation is if you stand up and demand it. Some of you might be saying, “Well, maybe we can live with just about anyone but Tim Pawlenty. We can live with a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion who will silently bow his head, or just look away when the attacks on liberty come, and keep coming from those who are most intolerant.”
Our personal rights and freedoms are under attack in this state and in this nation. We must stand up for freedom right here, and right now. Silence does give aid and comfort to those who wish to strip away our rights and liberties. And yes, we are talking about freedom and peace in our homeland. It is about social justice for every Minnesotan and every American.
My passion on this topic goes back a very long ways. My convictions on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender personal liberties are enduring and deeply held. As a former resident of the Wedge neighborhood in Minneapolis, I was very active on behalf of Gay and Lesbian issues in the 1960s -- and my public record since then has been consistently strong.
I went to court with Mike McConnell – the partner of Jack Baker -- to support retaining his University of Minnesota employment. In addition, I testified in support of Jack Baker in court after witnessing an ugly incident the night he was accosted at the Humphrey DFL Unity Dinner. During these earlier times I hosted issue forums which led the local legislator to support Lebian-Gay issues. Since those days I have continued to actively back the full agenda put forward by progressives in the gay and lesbian communities.
Earlier this year, I stood up and turned my back to Tim Pawlenty as he spoke of his full support of the constitutional amendment discriminating against gay rights. It was a moment of shame for our state. Only three legislators joined in protest when the Governor spoke those words in his State of the State address on a cold March day. The tide is turning, though, I can feel it here and now. I can say with great pride that I am a member of the Minnesota Senate – the DFL caucus – who stood up in unity once again for the rights of all Minnesotans and rejected that intolerant constitutional amendment. We did the right thing, and we are stronger for it.
It is time to set aside that amendment once and for all. Instead, we can talk more about the entire Rainbow of issues we all care about. Minnesota can work together once again to address the real needs of our citizens – education – from our earliest learners all the way to higher education; efficient transportation and transit; quality, affordable health care for all – I have the most comprehensive health care plan out there, and the years of experience to make it work; and I will work tirelessly on energy independence, conservation, protecting our environment; and bringing home our National Guard troops as soon as possible.
As your Governor, I will:
Champion gay, lesbian and transgender issues, using my bully pulpit to move forward on a more-progressive social agenda.
Actively oppose legal and constitutional restrictions on personal liberties.
Enact inclusive universal health care and housing legislation recognizing the rights of all people to be free from discrimination.
To deliver on these promises, it is essential to gain your active support. More than any other time, your vote really counts in a low-turnout Sept. 12 primary election. It is time to send a message.
Last night I appeared alone on Almanac in the Twin Cities because my opponent in the DFL primary refused -- once again -- to debate. Just as he is ignoring you and your issues, he is hoping you will ignore the DFL primary a week from next Tuesday. With your help, I can represent your interests in the November election. Together, we will stand up to Tim Pawlenty. We will be silent no more.
I look forward to working with you on our shared dream of a tolerant and enlightened Minnesota reaching out proudly for the highest-possible quality of life. And please remember to vote on Tuesday, Sept. 12! I’m Becky Lourey – and I hope you’ll elect me so we can have a Governor that all Minnesotans can be proud of.