JCA's Marriage Amendment Position

On November 6th Minnesota voters will be asked to amend the constitution to limit the
freedom to marry. "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?"
The Jewish Community is working to defeat this hurtful amendment driven by Jewish values
including Kvod Habriyot, human dignity; Lo Ta-amod al Dam Rei-echa, do not stand idly by as your
neighbor bleeds- and our community’s pursuit of the freedom of religion.
Conversations with people that you know are the most important step you can take to
defeat the amendment. We’ve done research in other states, and we’ve found that voters
 who had a conversation and
 who made the issue personal by talking about someone they knew who would be affected by
the amendment were 2x as likely to vote NO.
Never assume someone’s with us—or against us:
In California- only 60% of LGBT-welcoming congregation members voted NO. This means we need to
have conversations with people we think support us, so we can
 Make sure they pledge to Vote NO and won’t be pulled away by the opposition’s hurtful ads
 Ask them to join us volunteering and having trained conversations of their own.
But there’s good news, too! California also showed us that most people know someone who’s gay.
That means that this amendment can become personal to them—but only if we tell them why it matters
to us as gay people or as straight allies. Don’t assume they know that it matters to you!
Marriage is about love, not (just) about rights:
In the 31 other states where this issue has been on the ballot, our side’s talked about rights—the rights
that same-gendered couples lose because they can’t get married. This argument sounds great to people
on our side, but we’ve lost every single time. We’ve lost because it doesn’t make the issue personal.
To make history in Minnesota we need to make the amendment personal to undecided voters.
We do this by talking about how same-gendered couples want to marry for similar reasons as anyone—
because they love each other and want to make a commitment to one another. Here are some
questions you can use to help people make that connection:
 “Why did you get married?”
 “Do you know any gay people who are in long-term relationships? Why does their relationship
matter to them?”
 “Do they want to get married?”
 If they suggest that civil unions are an acceptable alternative, ask them, “Would you trade your
marriage for a civil union? Why not?”
General tips (see reverse side for more)
Ask questions and listen—let them do most of the talking!
Be a host – you’re guest is the person you’re having the conversation with. Treat the person as
you would someone you’ve invited into your home for Shabbat dinner! Be respectful and
Meet people where they’re at. Let your conversation be a journey, respond to their
concerns, and help them think through new ideas. Recognize that this may be uncomfortable.
Connect your story. Share why this amendment matters to you and keep it related to their
story or their concerns.
Don’t argue bible verses. Instead, ask them what their favorite verse is or why religion
matters to them. Chances are, their answer will have something to do with love or treating
others fairly, and that can bring the conversation back to shared values.
Religious freedom goes both ways. There are people of faith on both sides. The
government should not be picking sides and limiting the religious freedom of congregations that
would like to marry gay couples. This amendment limits the freedom to marry.
Help us help you. We need to know what conversations we’ve had so we can build power and
win together. Track your conversations at www.tinyurl.com/jca-powerful-conversations
Of course, every conversation’s different, but we’ve found the most effective conversations follow a
pattern. Here’s a chart to help you move through your conversations:
“How do you feel about the marriage amendment?”
Opposes the amendment
Undecided, or supports
the amendment
Ask them WHY they oppose the amendment
and get them to make it personal
“You’re voting no? Great! Me too. Tell me
why. Is there a person in your life who
would be affected by this amendment?”
Ask what concerns them about marriage for
same-sex couples
Connect your own story, values, or
experience to theirs
Thank them and ask them to sign a pledge
and join you in having conversations
Track your conversation at
Get them to talk about what marriage means
to them and about their experience with gay
Share what marriage means to you and your
experience with gay people, highlighting
“You got married because you were in love
and wanted to start a family? Me too. For
me, that’s really what marriage is all
“The gay people I know are loving,
committed couples who want to get
married for similar reasons as you
Ask if it makes sense to keep gay couples
from getting married
Track your conversation at
The last thing you can do to have more effective conversations is practice with others at a training—
go to http://www.jewishcommunityaction.org or call 651-632-2184 for details.