This fall, Minnesotans will consider a ballot question which, if approved, would amend the state constitution to further reinforce Minnesota's existing exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. For a year and a half, Minnesotans have been engaged in a lengthy and often thoughtful discussion about the nature of marriage and of equality, and the respective roles of church and state. In reality, that conversation has been going on in our country for around a century and a half, and in Western society, for considerably longer. Phil Duran, the Legal Director of OutFront Minnesota and a member of the First Unitarian Society, a humanist congregation, will explore aspects of the mythical and historical context behind today's debates regarding same-sex couples' access to marriage, examine the current status of relationship-recognition, and imagine where the conversation will go in the near future.
Phil Duran, a graduate of the University of Minnesota law school, is Legal Director for OutFront Minnesota, the state's leading LGBT-equality organization. Beginning as a volunteer in 1997, he joined its staff in 2000. In addition to his varietal work as legal advocate, educator and human rights attorney, Phil represents OutFront Minnesota on Governor Dayton's Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying, and chairs the Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity subcommittee of the Minnesota Judicial Branch's Committee for Equality and Justice. He is currently President-Elect of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and is a past member of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and a founding board member of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association.