MINNEAPOLIS – A small crowd of LGBTQ supporters gathered outside of the annual Minnesota Family Council dinner last Friday to protest the group’s Christian beliefs.
The “drag party” protest, organized by OutFront Minnesota, was meant to “send a message of love and liberation” to politicians the group has deemed to be “misaligned” with Minnesota values. The protest, which started 10 minutes late, was expected to bring 300-500+ people to the street, however, less than 150 people were in attendance. Despite the small numbers, Minneapolis Police closed the street for the duration of the protest, and Minnesota Family Council was forced to hire 3 off-duty police officers in anticipation of the event.
OutFront Minnesota advocates for “LGBTQ equality” and to “create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.” The protest singled out former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the keynote speaker for the Minnesota Family Council dinner, for his association with a Christian group.
“This is about our values as Minnesotans. This is about our humanity,” said Monica Meyer, Executive Director of OutFront. “We care for each other and we celebrate who we are. We need a governor who stands with all families, no exception.”
A few protesters held signs saying “Our Families Matter Too,” “Pawlenty O’ Hate,” and “Pro-Privacy = Pro-Bully.” Some even brought their children to the drag party equipped with signs saying “Love Families.” When asked what they were protesting, protesters claimed Minnesota Family Council “spews hate” and is “anti-LGBTQ.”
“We’re protesting Tim Pawlenty being the keynote speaker at a Minnesota Family Council gala dinner because they’re a group that spews hate towards gay people and transgender people and believes it’s not real, based on some science that doesn’t exist,” said a protester dressed with a trans flag as a cape.
“It’s a congressional district, CD2, so they organized [with] OutFront, which is an LGBTQ organization, so we’re protesting Family Council, their rhetoric, and their policies [that] are anti-LGBTQ,” said another protester. “It’s just meant to be a party, a drag queen party, dance party.”
Pawlenty issued a statement on Sunday addressing the protest.
“I think as a matter of biblical or religious perspective, marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman, but the civil law in the United States is now decided. The U.S Supreme Court said that we’re going to have gay marriage be legal in our country and we’re not going to go backward on that. I also don’t think we should be discriminating against gay and lesbian individuals in places of work or schools or public accommodations or housing and I voted for that law in 1993,” Pawlenty said.