Twin Cities Pride festival marks 40th yearby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
Hundreds of trained volunteers will approach people at the annual Twin Cities Pride parade to talk to them about voting against the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Minneapolis' 40th annual gay pride celebration began Saturday in Loring Park in advance of the Pride parade led by Gov. Mark Dayton on Sunday.
Spokesman Kate Brickman of MN United -- the main group working to defeat the amendment -- says Pride may be the most important event leading up to the vote in November. "Pretty much everyone who attends Pride is probably going to have someone talk to them at least once, if not more," Brickman says. "What we're really trying to encourage other people to do is to have the conversation. Because we know from our research that -- as a voter when someone in your life who's gay or lesbian talks to you about why it's important to them that you vote 'no,' you're more likely to vote 'no' in November."
Pride organizers say this year's event is driving many gay rights groups to collaborate.
Pride Executive Director Dot Belstler says many local groups that work on GLBT issues have been cooperating in an effort to integrate the festival with the campaign to vote "no" on the ballot question in November. "I think it's really unprecedented that everybody comes together," Belstler says. "We create this space for everybody to come together and celebrate, but also we're kind of getting back to the original kind of protest that pride was about -- or the activism that pride was about in the very beginning."
Belstler says organizers are trying talk to every person entering the festival about the amendment. People who pledge to vote "no" get a sticker so they won't be stopped by other organizers.
People who take part in the Twin Cities Pride 5-K Rainbow Run are being invited to dress in wedding attire on Sunday. Organizers are trying to tie the popular annual event to the campaign against the amendment banning same-sex marriage.
The parade, festival and 5-K run draw about 300,000 people to Minneapolis.