Minnesotans United for All Families was formed jointly by Project 515 and OutFront Minnesota to defeat legislation, constitutional amendments, and propositions that would exclude some families from the institution of marriage, and in particular to defeat a ballot question put before the voters in November 2012 that would have amended the Minnesota constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The ballot question was defeated, and subsequent legislation legalized same-sex marriage in Minnesota in 2013.

Project 515

In 2006, Project 515 set out with a specific, achievable goal: To ensure that same-sex couples and their families have equal rights under Minnesota law. At least 515 statutes in Minnesota discriminated against same-sex couples. Project 515 worked to change those laws from discriminatory to inclusive for same-sex couples and their families.

Statutory definitions of marriage and family often discriminated against issues as simple as obtaining a discounted family fishing license, to those as complicated and essential as end-of-life health care decisions. By drawing attention to the everyday challenges same-sex couples and their families had to navigate, Project 515 succeeded in helping to change the conversation around same-sex marriage.

Declaring same-sex marriage battle won, Project 515 ends.

Project 515 ended June 30, 2014.

Minnesota United For All Families Campaign

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The Minnesotans United campaign defeated a hurtful constitutional amendment that would have permanently limited the freedom to marry and won marriage equality for same-sex couples (the 12th state to do so). This campaign also showed the country how to win by sharing our personal stories about why marriage matters.

Minnesotans United created the biggest grassroots movement our state has ever seen:

  • 27,000 volunteers
  • 67,000 donors
  • Over 700 coalition partners
  • 52% of Minnesotans voted NO—more than 1.5 million people!

Moment of Victory

Moment of Victory

The bill to create a voter referendum passed in May 2011. At that time, no public ballot initiative in the country had passed, notably Prop 8 in California.

The referendum asked, “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

Organizers on both sides of the issue received strong support. Public Policy Polling (PPP) reported that 48 percent of Minnesotans supported the amendment and 47 percent opposed it. Then the balance began to shift. By November 3, PPP predicted that 45 percent of Minnesotans would vote “yes” and 52 percent would vote “no.”

On November 5, 2012, nearly three million people weighed in on the marriage amendment. About 48 percent voted in favor; about 51 percent voted in opposition.

The amendment’s failure made Minnesota the first and only state to reject a "same-sex marriage" ban through the will of voters rather than a court ruling.

Minnesota House and Senate Pass Marriage Equality

MN House Marriage Equality
MN House Marriage Equality
MN House Marriage Equality
MN House Marriage Equality

Energized by the amendment’s defeat in 2012, marriage-equality supporters and legislators worked together to draft a bill that legalized marriage equality. Governor Dayton signed the bill into law just over six months later, on May 14, 2013 in front of a crowd of 6,000 supporters.

The success achieved was also due in large part to legislators Governor Mark Dayton, Senator Scott Dibble, and Representative Karen Clark.

Minnesotans United For All Families accomplished its goal. The group dissolved on May 15, 2013.

Governor Dayton Signs Marriage Equality Into Law

Gov Dayton Bill Signing
Gov Dayton Bill Signing
Gov Dayton Bill Signing
Gov Dayton Bill Signing
Gov Dayton Bill Signing

Minnesota's road to victory began in 1970, when Jack Baker and Michael McConnell first applied for a marriage license. Their case, Baker v. Nelson, advanced all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court as the first legal challenge toward same-sex marriage equality.

Freedom to Marry was the campaign that won marriage in the United States and ignited a global movement. Freedom to Marry’s “Roadmap to Victory” national strategy focused from the beginning on setting the stage for a national victory at the Supreme Court by winning a critical mass of states, building a critical mass of public support, and ending federal marriage discrimination.

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