Launch of Veterans United in Minnesota extends Andrew Wilfahrt’s legacy
September 25, 2012
Today, U.S. Congressman Tim Walz will lead the launch of Veterans United, a coalition of U.S. military veterans who oppose a proposed constitutional amendment banning the freedom to marry, which Minnesotans will vote on in November.
Walz, who is a veteran himself and has already spoken out firmly against the amendment, is joining forces with Lori and Jeff Wilfahrt (right), a couple who has been working to defeat this amendment for the past year.
The Wilfahrt's son Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, who was openly gay, was killed during his tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2011 at the age of 31. For the entire past year, Lori and Jeff have been speaking out against the amendment in Andrew's honor, constantly reiterating what Lori said in a speech last October: "The constitution our son died for was intended to protect rights, not to deny them."
Andrew's memory has already been making a significant impact in the work of Minnesotans United for All Families, the coalition working to defeat the anti-gay amendment. In his honor, the Wilfahrts have teamed up with Minnesotans United to begin "Andrew's Round Table," a regular outing where same-sex couples, allies, and other marriage advocates attend house parties or other public events to tell their story, share why marriage matters to them, and pitch in for the event's fundraising efforts.
Cpl. Wilfahrt was also the subject of "Freedom" (below), a moving video from Minnesotans United released earlier this summer.
Veterans United, which functions as something of an extension for Andrew's Round Table, launched this morning at the Capitol. The group plans to tour the state over the next five weeks to continue speaking out against this amendment, which would forever write discrimination into the state's constitution.
Read more about the freedom to marry in Minnesota, or check out all four states where marriage is on the ballot this November.