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Religious Tolerance logo

Same sex marriage (SSM) in Minnesota

Part 17:
2013-AUG: Marriage equality arrives. SSMs begin.
R.C. Archbishop Nienstedt delivers anti-SSM speech.

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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay

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"SSM" is an acronym for Same Sex Marriage.
"LGBT" is an acronym for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals.
"DFL" is an acronym referring to the Democratic party in Minnesota.

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2013-AUG-01: In the early morning, at about 00:01 hrs, SSMs begin:

The new marriage law in Minnesota became effective on AUG-01. The first same-sex couples to be married were Margaret Miles to Cathy ten Broeke, and Jeff Isaacson to Al Giraud. Officiating was Mayor R.T. Rybak at the Minneapolis City Hall. The couple exchanged vows and rings just before midnight. Mayor Rybak had musicians play for a few minutes until the clock reached 12:01. He then pronounced Miles and ten Broeke married. Embracing their 5-year-old son, Louie, all three said "We do" as they promised to be a family. Over the next 6 hours or so, Mayor Rybak married more than three dozen additional same-sex couples at the rate of about one each 9 minutes.

Another couple who married that morning were Mike Bolin and Jay Resch, Bolin said:

"I don't think either of us ever thought we'd see this day. ... We met at low points in both of our lives, and to have arrived at this point — there's going to be a lot of tears."

Holli Bartelt and Amy Petrich from Wykoff, MN arranged to be the first same-sex couple to be married at the Chapel of Love at Mall of America. They planned to start the ceremony a few minutes before midnight so that they could be pronounced married only seconds after midnight. Owner of the chapel, Felicia Glass-Wilcox said:

"We'd like for them to be able to say they are the very first married in the state, but for sure they'll be able to say they're one of the first." 1

State budget officials estimate that 4,000 same-sex couples will marry during the first year. 2

According to Huffington Post:

"Bolin and Resch celebrated Wednesday night with several hundred others at Wilde Roast Cafe along the Mississippi River north of downtown Minneapolis. Many at the event planned to walk to City Hall for the mass nuptials.

Dayton proclaimed Aug. 1 to be "Freedom to Marry Day" in Minnesota.

Golden Valley-based General Mills Inc. donated Betty Crocker cakes for the event, which also featured performances by local musicians and services donated by wedding photographers, florists and other businesses.

Weddings were not limited to the Twin Cities. In St. Cloud, Stearns County court administrator Tim Roberts planned to marry a couple at 12:01 a.m. at the courthouse. "It feels historic. It's an honor to be a part of it," Roberts said. Midnight weddings were also planned for courthouses in Clay County, Polk County and elsewhere. 1

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2013-AUG-02: Important speech by John C. Niendstedt, Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul & Minneapolis:

During the second day of same-sex marriages in Minnesota, Archbishop Niendstedt delivered a speech at the 2013 Napa Institute. It was titled: "Family as the Foundation of Culture." The conference theme for the day was "Building a Catholic Culture."


The YouTube video of his speech received 1,454 views by mid-2013-SEP. It also received rather dismal ratings from its viewers: 6 "likes" and 24 "dislikes". 3

The text of his speech was published in Legatus Magazine on SEP-02. 4

He seems to imply that only Christians can have successful enduring marriages. He said:

"Only in Christ can we quench the longing found deep within our hearts.  When we try to find perfection in another person we are quickly disappointed.  Disappointment turns into divorce and divorce shatters families, leaving behind vulnerable children forced to survive the tragic circumstances of their parents’ separation."

He referred to a book written by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson and Robert George, titled "What is Marriage? Man and Woman: a Defense." 5 The book compares and contrasts what it describes as two distinct foundational views of marriage:

  • The conjugal view: "The joining of spouses in body as well as in mind, in an act that begins by consent and is then sealed by sexual intercourse." This leads to procreation --at least for fertile couples -- the birth of children, and both a permanent and exclusive relationship. Because of the children produced by the couple, the authors argue that the state should recognize, support, and protect this type of marriage.

  • The revisionist view: This is an emotional union enhanced by sexual activity. The relationship is viewed as valuable as long as the positive emotions last. They may choose to rear children either themselves through procreation, or through adoption. Proponents believe that the state should recognize and support this type of marriage as well beause it encourages stability and because of the benefits received by children raised by the couple. The three authors of the book see dangers in this revisionist view. It may lead to marriages without the centrality of children, impermanent marriages, polygyny, polyandry, without as much benefit to the state as is contributed by the conjugal view.

Archbishop Niendstedt stated:

"Today many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life. Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth."

By "redefinition of marriage" he is apparently referring only to the most recent redefinition in which marriage laws in some states have been modified so that both same-sex and opposite-sex couples can marry. It is important to realize that eligibility for marriage has been redefined five times in the history of America, In most cases, the redefinition has been regarded as a positive step, after some time has passed:

  • The first was after the civil war when slaves were freed and allowed to freely marry.

  • The second was in the late 19th century when deaf couples in some states were forbidden to marry.

  • The third was in the early 20th century when these laws restricting deaf couples were repealed.

  • The fourth was in 1967 when interracial couples were allowed to marry across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court declared marriage laws and state Constitution clauses that banned interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.

  • The fifth is happening now as some states are, one at a time, legalizing same-sex marriages.

Bob Shine and Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry said that Nienstedt's:

"... shrill rhetoric on marriage has not only been largely ineffective in preventing marriage equality laws, but it is also seen to be pastorally harmful. What bishops don’t seem to realize is that many of their church members sincerely and conscientiously support marriage equality." 7

David Badash, writing for The New Civil Rights Movement, criticized Archbishop Nienstedt for his sense of priorities. Badash wrote:

"In 2010, you’ll remember, while the poor were busy being poor, the sick were busy being sick, and the needy were busy being needy -- all in the middle of one of our country’s worst economic crises ever -- Archbishop John Nienstedt was busy using Church funds to spam 400,000 of Minnesota’s Catholics with anti-gay DVD’s, in the hope that he could sway them to hate the gays as much as he does."

The DVDs may have cost on the order of $5.00 each to produce, package, address and distribute to Catholics around the state. The total project cost might have been $2 million. But Badash is incorrect on one matter: Archbishop Nienstedt did ot use Church funds in the anti-equality DVD project. The money came from a secret private donor. Badash continues:

"What an incredible waste on money, time, and energy, that could have gone to feeding the poor, healing the sick, and comforting the needy — the way God intended. ... The article 4 is extensive, and the perfect example of a backwards theorem: come up with arguments to support your overarching belief, rather than look at reality and deduce what is right from there."" 7

The many state-wide and national polls sampling the public support and opposition to marriage equality have shown that the Roman Catholic laity has generally supported same-sex marriage at a level equal to or greater than the rest of the population. The Roman Catholic hierarchy has been unanimously opposed to marriage equality, but has not really been able to convince most of the Catholic laity of the wisdom of their position.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Patrick Condon, "Gay Marriage In Minnesota And Rhode Island Legalized, Weddings Start At Midnight," Associated Press , 2013-AUG-01. at:
  2. Patrick Condon, "Gay couples rush to wed as Minnesota, Rhode Island legalize same-sex marriage," Associated Press, 2013-AUG-01 at:
  3. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, "Family as the foundation of culture," video, You Tube, 2013, at:
  4. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, "Family as the foundation of culture," text,
  5. book cover image Sherif Girgis, et al., "What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense," Encounter Books, (2012). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  6. Meredith Bennett-Smith, "Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt Claims Satan Behind Gay Marriage, Condoms And Porn," The Huffington Post, 2013-SEP-15, at:
  7. David Badash, "US Archbishop: Satan Is ‘The Source’ Of Same-Sex Marriage," The New Civil Rights Movement, 2013-SEP-10, at:

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Copyright © 2013, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2013-AUG-01
Latest update: 2013-SEP-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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