Minn. Sunday School Students Raise Money For Gay Marriage With Lemonade Stand
Last weekend, children from the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis set up a lemonade stand to support marriage equality during the church's fundraiser, the Golden Valley (Minn.) Patch reported.
Church officials called the event the "Lemonade Stand-ing on the Side of Love." Young Sunday school students charged thirsty customers a quarter for a glass of lemonade. All of the proceeds went to the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance, an organization that is fighting against a proposed amendment to the state's constitution that would ban gay marriage.
"It was really neat -- a lot of the kids had made posters during their time in Religious Education class, and hung those up to direct people from the sanctuary to the social hall," Maren Ahlberg, a First Universalist member, told Patch.
Lauren Wyeth, the church's head of religious education, said several children were motivated to sell lemonade for the cause.
"A lot of the folks that are here at First Universalist want to raise their children in a way that honors the diversity of families and honors all kinds of love," Wyeth said.
In all, the group of children raised $150 for the organization.
Golden Valley Patch reported that the goal of the event was to "give voters personal examples of who stands to lose if the amendment passes." Wyeth also said that the event was to help the children feel confident with sharing stories about their parents, friend's parents or a LGBT relative.
"Those conversations come up on the playground," Wyeth said. "If other kids are repeating the anti-gay attitudes that they pick up from the broader culture, or their parents, or attack ads they'll usually have more confidence."
When the ultra-conservative website Free Republic posted the story, commenters reaction in blunt statements of hate typical of its far-right viewpoint that advocates against LGBT equality or even the legitimacy of same-sex attraction. Several commenters opined that this church is not truly "Christian."
"Yeah. Because this was a pro-homo thing, my guess is that yellow stuff wasn't really lemonade," a commenter wrote. "Church ought to be quotation marks. The unitarian universalist church is just a bunch of liberals gathering together to worship whatever feel like at the moment," another reader commented. "I think it was a LemonAids Stand," one user wrote.
Minnesota does not recognize same-sex marriage on a state level but domestic partnership ordinances have been legalized in 12 cities, including Minneapolis, Duluth and St. Paul. Additionally, the state has anti-discrimination and hate crime laws that protect on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Same-sex couples are also allowed to adopt children.
The First Universalist Church of Minneapolis' website devotes an entire page to marriage equality and lists its goals on how to defeat the marriage amendment.