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Last week I was reminded of a saying my mom taught me: If you tie your own shoelaces together, you don't get to blame someone else for tripping you. And as a queer man I'd add: You don't do our community any favors by blaming your fall on being queer.

This has been on my mind because of the series of disastrous decisions made by Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty during the prosecution of Minnesota state trooper Ryan Londregan (a case that my law partners defended, but which I have not participated in). Moriarty recently decided to end the ill-conceived prosecution, just about the only justice that can be found in what is otherwise an all-around tragedy. But Moriarty then decided to compound her series of legally and ethically dubious decisions by blaming Gov. Tim Walz and others because she is an openly queer woman.

As a proud member of the queer community, a former candidate myself, and a supporter and donor to Moriarty's 2022 campaign, I feel compelled to speak up.

To do that, I want to start 20 years ago, when I was fresh out of college. In 2004 I marched in the Minneapolis gay pride parade wearing a T-shirt with a very simple phrase on the front: "I do." At that time, it was meant to be provocative because the notion of legally marrying a same-sex partner was seen as radical. President George W. Bush proposed amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean ran for president and was seen by many as too extreme in part because he backed civil unions (let alone same-sex marriage).

The road from that time in 2004 to saying "I do" myself on Dec. 30, 2023, has been long, both personally and politically.

I grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota. One of the first signs of a real change was in 2007 when I watched the new congressman from my old hometown district forcefully speak out, not only for gay rights but for same-sex marriage. His name was Tim Walz, and he went out of his way to speak up for the gay community at a time that few leaders in the Democratic Party were willing to do so. Walz did it because championing equality and justice are a core part of his values — not because it was politically safe.

Many years later, I ran for office. In a twist I could not have predicted in 2004 and 2007, I attended an event where Walz was the keynote speaker to discuss his campaign for governor. The event was hosted by a friend and former student of Walz's from Mankato, who cherished the support that both Tim and Gwen Walz gave him as a young gay man in rural southern Minnesota. This day will forever be memorable for me because it was there that I met the man I married.

I did not end up winning my campaign. But that loss had nothing to do with the fact that I'm queer. The candidates for governor, the DFL Party, the activists and my primary opponents were nothing but welcoming and supportive of me in that regard. I didn't win because voters preferred a candidate with different (and more) experience. While I was disappointed, it never occurred to me to use my identity as a crutch for explaining why I did not succeed — especially when the truth is my identity as a queer man played no role in that outcome.

The story has a happy ending for me: I built a private practice helping countless clients, I married a man I love, and the same man who gave me so much hope by defending gay rights at a time when it was still considered unsavvy not only helped introduce me to my husband but became governor and literally endorsed my marriage by being a legal witness to it.

Recently, we have heard a lot about whether Moriarty's queer identity played a role in the twists and turns of the Londregan prosecution. The queer community has a lot of challenges, still. But we do no favors for ourselves or for the cause of justice in our society when we use our identity to condemn good people to cover for our own failings. I thought about describing Moriarty's allegations against Walz as hogwash. I decided against it because I like hogs too much.

And for the record, Londregan's lead attorney, Chris Madel, was himself the officiant for my wedding. The truth is that Walz, Keith Ellison, Madel and many others who have been critical of Moriarty's decisions in the Londregan prosecution are all good people working for our common goal: justice and safety for every Minnesotan. Moriarty tripped herself, and it's unfair and unjust to blame the governor or anyone else.

Matt Pelikan is an attorney in Minneapolis. He was the DFL-endorsed candidate for attorney general in the 2018 primary.