To: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
From: Laura Goode, Communications Director/Blogmistress, New America Media
CC: President Barack Obama (D-USA)
CC: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN)
CC: Norm Coleman (title revoked)
CC: Lavender Magazine

July 29th, 2009

Dear Sen. Franken,

First of all, major congratulations to you. I’m really, really psyched they (“they” being the general Minnesotan powers-that-be) finally realized that you beat that douchebag Norm Coleman. Incidentally, I don’t think enough has been made of the fact that this may have been the first-ever (and check me on this, please) Jew-on-Jew senatorial race that our home state has ever known. I mean, who says Minnesota isn’t ethnic?

 But I digress. It’s like this, Al—can I call you Al? I’m not really one of those girls who’s been dreaming of her wedding day her whole life. In fact, I feel pretty conflicted about the whole business: the feudal misogyny of a woman being passed, doe-eyed and virginal under a gossamer veil, from her father to her husband, the problem of post-marital naming (I like my name; why do I need another one?), the hog-wild consumerism of the whole wedding industry, &etc.

Beyond all those not-so-insignificant quibbles with the whole nuptial kit-and-kaboodle, though, I’ve got a big one: how am I supposed to be comfortable with asking my friends, many of whom are gay, to fly to Minnesota, stand up and celebrate my entrance into an institution that doesn’t recognize them?

This is where you come in.

You see, Sen. Franken, I’m in love with a wonderful person. My partner is smart, kind, honest, totally gorgeous, treats me as an equal—and Christ on a bike, I could go on and on about how great the fornication is, but my parents are both Catholic and literate, so I’ll truncate myself. In short, I’m in love with the kind of person I should really be pressuring into proposing to me right now, but instead I’m writing this. And someday, on a day neither too close nor too far from now, I might like to get married—gay, straight, or otherwise—to that person.

I’m not unreasonable. I’m willing to make some concessions to traditionalism: like many people, if I choose to marry, I’d like to do it in my home state. I’m even willing to honor my family’s religious background by doing it in a Catholic church—my uncle Ron says St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis is full of pinkos, and that he’d rather stab his eyes out than attend another mass there, but I told him he had to if I got married there, and he agreed.

I’m totally prepared to feed our local economy with a lot of unnecessary flowers and bite-sized bacon-wrapped appetizers and Northwest plane tickets to MSP. A lot of my friends have still never been to Minnesota, so I’d love the opportunity to show them that we Great Plainers know how to wedding-party right: on lakes, a Leinenkugel in every hand, dropping o’s so buoyant you could float rocks on them.

But, Sen. Franken, I just can’t have that marital rager that until all my friends could choose to get married in Minnesota, too.

I just don’t get it, Al. I could get married on the back of a speeding motorcycle if I wanted to. I could have a Bollywood wedding if I wanted to. I could get my friend Vickie ordained as a Wiccan priestess on the internet and get her to perform my marriage if I wanted to. But I have to specify the sex of my partner in order to get married in Minnesota? Frankly, Sen. Franken, that sucks.

I know you’re not, like, endowed with the legislative power to legalize gay marriage in our great state. But I also know you wouldn’t have spent eight months with your political balls hanging out in an unresolved election if the Senate couldn’t provide you with a position of real influence. Also, I was encouraged to hear your politics described as “left of San Francisco.” That’s kind of uncanny, because A) I live in San Francisco, and B) my family likes to describe truly radical politics as “left of Laura.” I think you and I might have a lot in common. I think you want marriage equality in Minnesota too.

(I mean, how awkward is it that Iowa did this first?!)

I’ve preserved my legal residence in Minnesota just so I could vote for people like you, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), and I took the time to look back over the lists of “lost” votes to make sure mine was counted in 2008 (it was). As a Minnesota voter, all I want, all I’ve ever wanted, is to have the option of telling my family I’m getting gay married, whether I marry a dude or not. I think you’d enjoy the looks on their faces as much as I would.

So listen up, Al—this Betty is holding out for you. Let’s get it done: Minnesota marriage equality. I’d like to get married while I’m still young enough to look good in the pictures, so please hurry. Time is cruel.

Sincerely your pinko-in-arms,

Laura E. Goode