Last night was the big LGBT kick-off event for Mark Dayton’s campaign for Governor here in Minnesota. Sponsored by HRC Minnesota PAC and OutFront Action PAC, the event brought Broadway star Gavin Creel and Mary-Mitchell Campbell to town to lend their significant talents to the effort. Hundreds of supporters of equality descended on the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis to unite behind Senator Dayton’s efforts to assure all Minnesotans are treated equally under the law.

The event drew a wide cross section of advocates from HRC, OutFront Minnesota, Project 515 and the Stonewall Democratic Caucus of the DFL. Additionally, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and State Representative Ryan Winkler were on hand to lend their support for Sen. Dayton and marriage equality.

The evening began with a small reception, during which Sen. Dayton, Mayor Rybak and OutFront Executive Director, Monica Meyers, all gave impassioned remarks about equality and the need for Minnesota to once again move to the front of the pack in treating all people with equal dignity and respect.  Then it was on to the main event!

Jake Reitan, one of the organizers of the event, took to the stage to welcome the crowd and get them pumped up and ready to act from now until Election Day. The crowd responded with whoops and hollers and the energy seemed to escalate for Jake’s introduction of Sen. Dayton, the man of the hour. The would be Governor revved up the crowd and gave a heartfelt recounting of a promise he made to his nephew that he would fight for his (and everyone else’s) equal rights in the state – including marriage equality.

Following the remarks, Gavin and Mary-Mitchell performed what seemed to be an endless set list of Irving Berlin favorites and some of Gavin’s own material. The evening ended with local theater performers joining Gavin and Mary-Mitchell on stage for the classic rendition of Let the Sun Shine In from Hair, the musical Gavin had starred in on Broadway.  Despite the incredible talent during the performance, I think the crowd will remember our guests from New York for their wit, personality and genuine care for our cause here in Minnesota.

With five and a half weeks to go until Election Day, the LGBT community in Minnesota must unite behind Mark Dayton and other fair-minded candidates.  We must turn out to volunteer for their campaigns and vote for him as he is the only viable candidate who will bring equality to the North Star State.  To get involved with our efforts in Minnesota, please email Tony Wagner at

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