I wasn't able to catch too much of the Minnesota Senate debate on marriage equality today. I was able to catch some toward the end, but I missed most of this gem. I'm really glad it's getting some attention and making some rounds on the Internet.
It's a speech by Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, who brought the floor debate to an end today by telling a personal story to explain his "yay" vote on the marriage equality bill. The story is about a Lutheran pastor, Ray, that his family knew growing up. This pastor was there for virtually every major event in the family's history. He even married Bakk and his wife. Later, he came out as gay and was effectively forced out of the church. I'm not going to give away too much of the speech, but Towleroad provides this snippet:
Ray knows a lot about marriage. Married a lot of couples. Counseled a lot of couples through the highs that marriages have and some of the deep disappointments that sometimes happen in marriage relationships. He felt the excitement and could see the excitement in a couple's eyes as he married them. He felt the excitement in mine. Because in 1976 he married me. A few years later he came out as being gay and his employer in the church didn't treat him very well, and he had a very difficult ministerial career after that. Today he is retired and lives in Minneapolis. But something has always bothered me. That over the decades of his friendship with our family he participated in and shared in the joy of so many marriages but could never have one of his own.The clip is about nine minutes long. When you can find nine minutes, please watch. You won't be sorry you did. You might even need some Kleenex nearby.
What an ally. And what a fitting way to bring debate to a close and make history with the other allies in the Minnesota Senate.