Project 515’s mission is to ensure that same sex couples and their families have equal rights and considerations under Minnesota law.
Project 515 believes:
- All families should be equally valued and respected under the law.
- All families should be treated fairly in their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces and communities.
- For true equality and fairness under Minnesota law to become a reality, all committed couples must share similar obligations and responsibilities.
Project 515’s Beginnings
Minnesotans from all walks of life came together as Project 515 following a 2006 public opinion survey sponsored by Equality Minnesota. The survey, conducted by Decision Resources, Ltd. of Minneapolis, discovered:
- Nearly eight out of 10 Minnesotans said government should treat people no differently because of their sexual orientation.
- Almost 70 percent of Minnesotans agreed that “gays and lesbians should have the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else.”
Unfortunately, Minnesota’s laws aren’t living up to Minnesotans’ expectations. There is a significant gap between the fairness Minnesotans value and what actually occurs under Minnesota law. That’s why Project 515 commissioned legal research conducted by Professor Anthony Winer and others at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. The research forms the basis for the report: Unequal Under the Law: 515 Ways Minnesota Laws Discriminate Against Couples and Families, which identifies at least 515 state laws that discriminate against families based on marriage. In 2010, Project 515 released an update to the original report, Still Unequal Under the Law.
Strengthening Minnesota Families and Communities
Project 515 and the report are about people. Project 515 is dedicated to achieving full equality for committed same-sex couples in Minnesota. Research shows that 79 percent of Minnesotans believe in equality for same-sex couples, but differ on the ultimate means for providing equality. Our goal is to educate Minnesotans first about the discrimination same-sex couples face and then lead Minnesotans in a discussion about the best way to achieve full equality.
Project 515 is committed to changing the debate around long-term same-sex relationships. The first step is clarifying the discrimination families currently face in Minnesota and understanding how that discrimination affects all of us.
We also recognize that in leaving out many committed couples, some state laws offer unmarried, committed couples freedom from the obligations and responsibilities placed upon married couples. Project 515 believes that fairness means all committed couples must share similar obligations and responsibilities. This will only strengthen Minnesota families and communities.
Project 515 is a proud member of Equality Federation.