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Concert to Defeat the Marriage Amendment

28 Mar

Say we here at CakeIn15 really hated classical music (for the record, we don’t). We could use our platform to tell you reasons why you shouldn’t listen to classical music, why you should hate classical music, deny the value of classical music and otherwise influence you to loathe Mozart, Chopin and Stravinsky. What would be unethical, immoral and inequitable for us to do would be actually physically stop you from listening to classical music, block you from Orchestra Hall, smash records and burn librettos. It would diminish your own individual rights, preferences and judgments, not to mention cut out a huge swath of human culture and history.

That is, in a much more serious sense, what is shaping up in a proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution that will be on the ballot this fall. The so called “marriage amendment” would define define marriage as solely between one man and one woman, a definition that, like our supposed hatred of classical music, diminishes the lives, liberties and happiness of others. Similarly discriminatory moves have passed in other states and been famously overturned in California, and with political forces massing on both sides of the issue, CakeIn15 caught up with Andrew LaValle, local music impresario and man-about-town who has organized a Concert to Defeat the Marriage Amendment. Happening this Friday at Hell’s Kitchen, the concert is a fundraiser for Minnesotans United for All Families with performances by Dream Crusher, Tramps Like Us, a tribute to Bruce Springsteen featuring members of Gospel Gossip, The Pinsch and Teenage Moods, with planned appearances by Mayor R.T. Rybak and Councilman Gary Schiff.

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CakeIn15: What are the issues around this proposed constitutional amendment and what makes it so important that the amendment doesn’t pass?

Andrew LaValle: Basically, its just discriminatory, it’s going to put hate into the constitution, especially at a time when the rest of the country and Minnesota are moving in the opposite direction. It’s just going to be a huge step backwards, and it doesn’t solve anything – [same-sex marriage] is already illegal, and that’s an important thing for people to understand that [the amendment] is not going to change anything, they just want to make it harder to overturn and it that’s going to set us back years. Something that’s important to emphasize too is that this isn’t an abstract issue, this isn’t tax policy or stadium issues, this affects a lot of people’s lives directly. This is an intensely personal issue for a lot of people and I think young people are more turned on to the issue, they are engaged and care more, so hopefully things are moving in the right the direction. They got this in as soon as they could knowing that time is on our side and not on theirs.

C15: Tell us a bit about the “Concert to Defeat the Marriage Amendment“. Why are you putting it on?

AL: I’m doing this show because polls show, obviously it’s an important issue especially for younger people, but polls show that its going to be a really close vote, most polls are within the margin of error and it’s going to be particularly important that young people get out and are engaged and turned on. So we’re hoping to reach an audience that normal political fundraisers don’t reach. Wealthy people can easily contribute a hundred dollars but the cover here is eight dollars because we want to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t be active or wouldn’t otherwise contribute.

Dream Crusher from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

C15: How did the project come about?

AL: Part of the deal with this event and one of the reasons we’re doing it so early is to get people paying attention, get some momentum going. I just started this event on my own because I was getting irritated with the way things were going, so I got the idea and started talking to Hell’s Kitchen who were willing to give us the space for free. All the bands are playing for free, so all the door proceeds are going to go to the cause and a portion of the drink proceeds as well, so Hell’s Kitchen are being very, very generous. People are really passionate about this issue.

C15: It’s one thing to do these shows in the Twin Cities, but what kind of outreach can artists have out-metro and in other parts of Minnesota?

AL: That’s something that I’ve also wondered about because I’m sort of living in my Minneapolis bubble, I don’t really get out of the Twin Cities all that much, so I’m hoping that people will take it upon themselves to have their friends in the suburbs, talk to them, get involved and make them aware somehow. If artists want to be involved and get ideas from this, more power to them, I absolutely encourage them. There’s an event at the Varsity in April that Chastity Brown is playing, so hopefully this is just the start. I’m not selfish enough to want all the glory, it’s not about me, it’s about the issues.

The Pinsch – “Boom Boom” from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

C15: What is your take on the overturn of Proposition 8 in California and where that is headed?

AL: It’s interesting because it is probably headed to the Supreme Court, people have been saying that for a while. My current impression is that if they do rule it might only be applied to California so I’m not sure how much of an impact a Supreme Court case would have but honestly if the vote on Prop 8 was this year, it probably wouldn’t have passed, that’s how fast things are moving.

C15: Looking forward, what does it mean to defeat this amendment in the long term?

AL: What it would mean for Minnesota is that we would be the first state to vote this down and I think we have a good chance at doing so. It would completely change the debate and people could no longer say, “Oh, every time the public has the chance to vote, they vote no [on same-sex marriage].” It would completely shift the direction, and that’s another thing to talk about, how awful this is, that you are putting a civil right up for a vote. People draw the analogy all the time, that if we put civil rights up for a vote in the 50s or the 60s, what would the outcome have been? It’s just a fundamental American thing that you don’t put minorities, you don’t put their rights on the ballot because more often than not, the outcome is already determined. Hopefully we’re getting smart enough, wise enough to not do that.

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