Sadly, relatively few Americans will experience the joy and wonder and excitement that is the Minnesota State Fair. GLAAD employs three native Minnesotans who thoroughly love (and continue to visit) the Minnesota State Fair. At this time of the summer, our conversations turn to the butter sculptures of beauty queens, the “miracle of birth” barn, and the shows at the grandstand. Oh, and did we mention the food? Pork chop on a stick. Corn dogs. Funnel cakes. Deep fried smelt. Pretty much anything that can be served on a stick or dipped in a deep fat fryer (or both). The food might be the main attraction of the fair.
This year, however, the Minnesota State Fair has become the showcase for marriage equality. In the few short days that the Great Minnesota Get Together has been open, we have seen amazing, visible support to defeat the amendment and support marriage equality across the state.
On the first day of the State Fair, a group of 150 clergy gathered at the entrance to the fairgrounds to speak out against the proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples in Minnesota. Speakers included Bishop Anne Svennungsen, who leads the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, Rabbi Harold Kravitz, the Senior Conservative Rabbi of Adath Jeshurun congregation, and Pastor Adam Tao, an Evangelical Christian minister.
Minnesotans United for All Families, the coalition working to defeat the amendment, has a booth set up at the state fair. Minnesotans United will have a booth at this year’s fair, handing out “Vote No on a Stick” fans as well as encouraging people to pledge what city they’ll be voting no from this November. Many leaders from across Minnesota will join the thousands of volunteers expected to help spark conversations with fairgoers about the importance of marriage and how no one should be told it’s illegal to marry the person you love.
But the Minnesotans United booth isn’t the only pro-marriage equality booth at the state fair. Over in the education building, one can visit the booth of Augsburg College and Capella University. On August 3, Capella University became the first major higher education institution to speak out against the amendment. Later, Capella was joined in opposition by Augsburg College later in the month, a private Minneapolis liberal arts college associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Booths for pro-equality businesses like General Mills, St. Jude Medical and Thomson Reuters can be found elsewhere in the fair.
Take it from us. If you want a great experience with enterainment and amazing (and fattening) food, we recommend the Minnesota State Fair. And if you go, be sure to let others know that you support marriage equality. This message is from the three native Minnesota GLAADiators!
Photos from Minnesotans United for All Families. As a bonus, watch Princess Kay of the Milky Way become a butter sculpture!