An artistic argument for equal marriage rights

As Minnesota marriage amendment discussions heat up, a Pride Week performance dramatizes the debate.

Project 515, a group promoting equal rights for same-sex couples and families, brings “515–The Tour!” to the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts for a one-night-only performance during pride. Through song, theater and dance, the production highlights the state laws Project 515 argues discriminate against same-sex couples.

The 45-minute show will be followed by a short discussion.

Program Director Bryan Gerber said a $25,000 grant from Chase Community Giving awarded last fall paid for 12 performances across the state. Gerber estimated more than 4,000 Minnesotans have now seen “515–The Tour!”

June’s Pride performance will give the cast an opportunity to “showcase what 515 is doing all over Minnesota,” he added.

A Minneapolis-based nonprofit established in 2007, Project 515 takes its name from the number of laws the group says discriminate against same-sex couples in Minnesota. Its touring performance is an attempt to show exactly what same-sex couples are dealing with, Gerber said.

“We think we have been successful in getting people out and talking about this issue,” he said.

In November, Minnesotans will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that, if approved, would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

“This is really a big year for Minnesotans,” Gerber said.

The Pride Week “515–The Tour!” performance is 7:30 p.m. June 21 at Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Ave. Tickets prices start at $9 and may be purchased at The Cowles Center Box Office online at thecowlescenter.org or by phone, 206-3600.

Audience members will be invited to Jetset Bar, 115 1st St. N., after the show for an informal reception and continued discussion.