by Nicky Simon-Burton, community relations at PRIDE Institute

My emotions surrounding the election coverage last night were intense. Certainly there was the normal anticipation of knowing who the next president will be, but in the state of Minnesota, one constitutional amendment caused additional fear, excitement, hope, and concern. What a rollercoaster of emotions as I awaited hearing if the people of Minnesota would vote no in opposition to adding same sex marriage discrimination into the constitution.

My partner awoke me from a restless sleep at 3 a.m. with a whisper, “Honey, we won!” I almost could not believe it. The feeling of validation over a hard fought battle, and of knowing that our individual stories have helped change the hearts of so many, was amazing. For my family, including my one and a half year old son, this decision cemented our life in Minnesota.

After rejoicing on my personal happiness from this decision, my attention went toward our clients and future clients at PRIDE Institute. The effects of homophobia in this world can have tremendous impact on the substance abuse and mental health issues among the LGBT community. Minnesotans Voting No helps to send a message that we are not alone, we have support, and we will have equal rights!

While we still do not have the right to marry (yet), this morning we can hold our head higher knowing we have done something that no other state has been able to do. And thus begins the next steps for full equality.