Fallen Soldier’s Family Speaks At GLBT Rally

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Hundreds rallied at the State Capitol Thursday supporting gay marriage, including the parents of a gay Minnesota soldier killed in Afghanistan last month.

The parents of Andrew Wilfahrt told the rally, the fact their son was gay was the least interesting thing about him. At the same time, they vowed to fight for gay civil rights in his honor.

“I hope my son didn’t die for human beings, for Americans, for Minnesotans, who would deny him civil rights,” he said.

Wilfahrt was killed in February by an explosive device while serving in Afghanistan.

His parents, joined by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, predicted gay marriage will become legal in the state.

“I believe that day will come,” Dayton said.

Standing on the Capitol steps, the Wilfahrts criticized efforts by the Minnesota Family Council for promoting a constitutional amendment, banning gay marriage.

A spokesman for the group released its own poll showing a majority favor a vote.

“Let the people vote on the issue. This is what this is all about. Let the people vote and vote on it, like they’ve done in 31 other states,” said Chuck Darrell, of the Minnesota Family Council.

The Wilfahrt parents, who wear the purple service star depicting a dead soldier, said if an anti-gay marriage amendment is approved, they’ll fight it all the way to the Supreme Court.

“Very concerned. It’s silly. It makes no sense anymore,” said Lori Wilfahrt. “We’re better than that.”

There are Republicans in the legislature who plan to introduce an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

If the legislature approves it, it will go on the election ballot in 2012.

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