When Minnesotans found out that an amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman would be on the ballot in November 2012, Jewish Community Action got involved. Our community demanded it. In August of 2011, we were proud to become one of the first organizations to join Minnesotans United for All Families, the statewide campaign to defeat the amendment.
In joining this campaign, our goals were:
- To join other people of faith and organize our own community, and to integrate this issue into our congregations;
- To train and support our members in having the conversations with their friends and neighbors about defending the freedom to marry;
- To defeat the amendment, and to keep discrimination from being enshrined in our state’s constitution.
With our members’ help, we exceeded all of our goals. Through grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and what felt like thousands upon thousands of phone banks:
- We successfully organized the Jewish community and made countless allies—both organizations and individuals—in the broader Minnesotan community. We worked closely with communities of color, LGBT partners, and individuals who had never before volunteered or campaigned, and we are eager to continue working together on other joint efforts in the future.
- We trained our members to hold personal and effective conversations about the importance of marriage equality, and in honor of the current Hebrew Year, challenged the Jewish community to conduct 5,773 such conversations with people they know. Our members far surpassed this goal, holding a staggering 6,836 intimate conversations with their friends and neighbors. Through these conversations, our members not only convinced others to vote “No,” but also encouraged some to have similar conversations with their own friends and relatives.
- We helped Minnesota become the first state to defeat an amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Not only that, but we linked this work to the campaign to defeat the voter restriction amendment, keeping hundreds of thousands of Minnesota voters from being disenfranchised. With the support of our members, JCA was one of the only organizations to campaign simultaneously against both amendments on the ballot this fall, and our efforts paid off beyond our expectations.
Following our communitys tremendous work on the marriage amendment campaign, JCA is well-positioned and eager to participate in future work on marriage equality and civil rights.