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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM), civil unions, etc In Minnesota

Part 4: Additional SSM support & opposition.
Catholic Archbishop's letter in opposition.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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A You Tube video by Minnesotans United for all Families:


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2012-MAY-09: A personal statement by a lifelong Republican:

Minnesotans United for All Families sent a statement in support of same-sex marriage written by Wheelock Whitney, a lifelong Minnesota Republican, and member of their board. It occurred on the day that President Obama endorsed marriage for same-sex couples. Whitney wrote:

"Across this country, people are reaching the conclusion that it is wrong to make it illegal to marry the person you love. As a Republican, and as a man who has a son and a grandson who are gay, this is a positive development in America’s conversation on what marriage means and how the freedom to marry is intrinsic in our nation’s dedication to the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This fall, Minnesotans will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for some couples. For months, we’ve been having a conversation about what marriage means to us, and that conversation is happening in every part of our state. We know limiting that freedom is not in our state’s strong tradition of practicing the golden rule, of rejecting too much intrusion into our personal lives, and of not mixing religion and politics. There is not a bone in my conservative body that tells me that we should limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples.

As support for defeating this amendment grows across this state, I am as confident as ever that Minnesotans will defeat this freedom-limiting Amendment in November. President Obama’s announcement today is a welcome development in this ongoing conversation." 1

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A priest, minister and rabbi enter a bar.....

This is no joke. They discuss an important factor that limits their faith groups' religious freedom:


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The first pro-same-sex marriage ad to be televised in Minnesota:

Yvonne and Fred are from Duluth, MN. Their views on same-sex marriage have changed over time, and influenced by their gay grandson. Freedom to Marry paid for the ad, which will air in the Twin Cities and Duluth.

Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, said:

"The Peterson family are like many in Minnesota right now. They have been on a journey about how they feel about marriage for same-sex couples. And over time, they’ve come to the conclusion that same-sex couples want to marry for similar reasons to straight couples: to make a lifelong commitment to one another based on mutual love and responsibility."

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TV ads by those opposed to same-sex marriage:

Minnesota for Marriage has placed some anti-SSM videos on You Tube. Two are:

"Minnesota for Marriage pastors' " video: (9.2 minutes):


"Minnesota Marriage Minute: Episode 33" (2.6 minutes):


We had to chuckle when we viewed the second video. Kalley Yanta of Minnesota for Marriage was trying to make the point that children raised by a mother and father do better than children raised by two fathers or two mothers. She showed several articles that described studies of children's outcomes. However, at least one of the articles compared children who thrived in a two parent family in which the parents were married, with children who did not do as well and who were raised in two other types of families: single parent families, and families in which the parents were unmarried and just living together. That study provides a good argument in favor of allowing loving, committed same-sex parents to marry.

Minnesota for Marriage disabled the comments on their videos, presumably because they didn't want people who favored marriage equality from exposing weaknesses in their arguments.

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2012-AUG-26: Letter from Archbishop read out in some Twin Cities' parishes:

A letter from John C Nielstedt, the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis had a second letter read out during Sunday mass. Allegedly it was not read in 17 parishes, presumably because of objections by the local priests. 8 It urged parishioners to support the state constitutional amendment to ban SSM. 4 It said in part:

"What God has revealed to us for all time cannot be changed unilaterally by human beings. This is the heart of the matter for us as Catholics. Our effort to support God’s unchanging plan for marriage is not a campaign against anyone, but rather a positive effort to promote the truth about marriage as a union between one man and one woman. ..."

"But the reality is that marriage is not ours to redefine, just as another human life is not ours to take. God is both the author of life and the author of marriage. It is this most fundamental understanding of the natural order that animates who we are as Catholics. ... It is also why we fight to defend God's plan for marriage, because his providence is as clear for what marriage is as it is for the dignity of each human life. ..."

"We know that some who are seeking to redefine marriage experience same-sex attractions. Our brothers and sisters living with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God who must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.

Every sign of unjust discrimination in this regard must be avoided. People with same-sex attractions, like others in society, are productive citizens, community servants, good friends and our beloved family members.

At the same time, however, it is important to know that the effort to ensure that the definition of marriage remains as between one man and one woman does not take away anyone’s existing rights or legal protections. As Catholics, we believe that all people should be able to visit loved ones in the hospital, pass on their property to whomever they choose, and have access to employment, housing and the basic necessities of life.  Saying “yes” to God’s plan for marriage will not change any of this. ..." 5

His statement is fully in accordance with Catholic teaching on sacramental marriage as provided by the church only to opposite-sex couples. However, the majority of American adults feel that civil marriages. and the government benefits and protections that follow, should also be made available to loving, committed opposite-sex and same-sex couples and their children. Also, there is widespread belief in the importance of religious freedom, including the right of more liberal faith groups who support marriage equality to be able to marry all of the committed couples in their congregations.

The next day Michael Bayly, the director of Catholics for Marriage Equality, detected a sudden increase in requests for his group’s lawn signs, which read, "Another Catholic Voting No." He also received reports that people had walked out of their churches during the reading of the Archbishop's letter.

As of late 2012-AUG, Minnesota Catholic churches and groups have given $1 million to the vote-yes effort to embed discrimination into the state Constitution by banning marriage equality. 6

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Anti-SSM group apologizes for Hitler remarks by one of their officials:

Rev. Brad Brandon is Director of Church Outreach the anti-SSM group Minnesota for Marriage. This is the group promoting a constitutional amendment to ban SSM in the state. He allegedly told several small groups that Minnesotans United for All Families -- the group promoting marriage equality in the state -- was using religious freedom suppression techniques similar to those used by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Minnesota for Marriage apologized for the statements by its official

Deputy Campaign Manager Andy Parrish said that Rev. Brandon’s remarks were not sanctioned by the campaign and that he’s been instructed to get back on message. 11

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This topic continues in the next essay

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Site navigation:

References used:

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

  1. "Wheelock Whitney Statement on President Obama’s Endorsement of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples," Minnesotans United for All Families, 2012-MAY-12, at:
  2. "No Joke," You Tube video, at:
  3. "Grandparents," You Tube, at:
  4. "Archbishop John Nienstedt Calls On Catholics To Vote For MN Gay Marriage Ban," On Top Magazine, 2012-SEP-02, at:
  5. J.C. Nienstedt, "Marriage: speaking the truth with love," The Catholic Spirit, 2012-AUG-30, at:
  6. Beth Hawkins, "Archbishop Nienstedt's latest marriage-amendment letter adds to Catholic turmoil," MinnPost, 2012-AUG-31, at:
  7. Email from Richard Carlbom, Minnesotans United for All Families, 2012-MAY-17.
  8. "Gay marriage: Leads here, tied in Minnesota - polls," Seattle PI, 2012-SEP-12, at:
  9. "Minnesota for Marriage pastors' video," Minnesota for Marriage, 2012-SEP-06, at:
  10. "Minnesota Marriage Minute: Episode 33." Minnesota for Marriage, 2012-AUG-22, at:
  11. "Marriage group apologizes for Hitler remarks," Associated Press, 2012-OCT-24, at:

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Copyright © 2012, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2012-APR-30
Latest update: 2012-OCT-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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