Marriage Equality Opponents On Shaky Ground In Minnesota

MinnesotaWelcomeConservatives in Minnesota thought they could use tried and true methods to pass a Constitutional ban on marriage equality there. Apparently they were wrong.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the group, Minnesota for Marriage, is finding itself on shaky ground after General Mills came out against the amendment and as pro-equality activists rapidly outrace them. And then there's the religious climate, which is not as hospitable to hate as the right wing imagined:

In past same-sex ballot question fights, amendment supporters found that 40 percent of their votes came from Democrats. But, [strategist Frank] Schubert noted, libertarian-leaning Republicans tend to reject the marriage amendment as government intrusion. That leaves him to thread a unique and fragile coalition.

That's why Minnesota for Marriage has worked relentlessly to coordinate with churches and various religious groups.

Religious observers say church activity is likely to tick up by September. Supportive pastors are expected to preach on the issue, endorse the amendment, even raise money to support the measure.

Twin Cities Roman Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt warned clergy members there should be no “open dissension” of the church’s backing of the amendment.
But there are noticeable cracks in the Catholic coalition.

In May, the group Former Priests for Marriage Equality released a list of 80 former Minnesota Catholic priests against the amendment.

In May, nearly 200 Catholics from across Minnesota met in a Methodist church in Edina to discuss how they’re working within their churches to defeat the amendment. At the event, the Rev. Bob Pierson, a priest at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, said he’d be voting no on the amendment.

Popular opinion on marriage equality is also drifting toward inclusion. A recent poll from early June showed only 43% of Minnesota residents want a ban on gay marriage; that was down from 48% in February. Forty-eight percent of the state, meanwhile, oppose the bigoted amendment.


  1. enough already says

    We mustn’t let our guard down.
    Nor should we count our chickens before they are hatched.
    Christians are the most hateful, deceitful people on earth.
    People who happily rape little boys and girls have no problem telling lies.
    The money to finance their lying attack ads, prepared for the low-information women voters who sink us every time will be there this year.

  2. Landon says

    ENOUGH ALREADY – My boyfriend is a Christian, so keep your prejudice to yourself.

  3. intristin says

    People say one things at the polls and do another at the voting booth. I would be surprised if it didn’t pass.

  4. jdb says

    ENOUGH ALREADY – Many of the people working to defeat this freedom-limiting amendment are Christian, including me. Last month, over 130 clergy (many of them Christian) gathered to rally against the anti-marriage amendment and plan for action against it throughout the summer and fall. Most of Minnesotans United for All Families’ community launch events have been hosted by Christian churches or Jewish synagogues.

    For what it’s worth, I offer my sincere apology for the wounds you have suffered at the hands/words of Christians. I ask you to remember that we are human, like anyone else, and we come in many varieties, including gay. Please don’t write off a huge chunk of the world population simply because some of them behave badly.

  5. Luke says

    Enough Already, please keep your anti-Christian bigotry to yourself. Some of us are Jesus-loving Christians here.

  6. JJ says

    @JDB, I’m sure your intentions are noble, but the practice of religion, however innocently it may begin, inevitably ends in cruelty and oppression. The fatal step is the first one, because to even begin to be religious one must first embrace the idea that it’s reasonable to believe extraordinary claims without evidence. That’s what “faith” is. Once one crosses that threshold, he is vulnerable to all manner of fallacies that invite corruption. As Voltaire put it, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Even those who would not themselves be corrupted play a role in religious atrocities by legitimizing faith. And while they may never take the next step toward bigotry, they lead others who would take that next step to take the first step of rejecting reason to embrace faith.

    If you don’t want to be held accountable for your role in the corrupting influence of faith, show that faith is in any way legitimate. Show that there are virtues that cannot be manifested without rejecting reason. Or prove that what you believe is not a product of faith at all, but is in fact true. Otherwise, we have thousands of years of religious oppression and cruelty as our guide, which makes it far from prejudice to condemn the religious. Indeed, it’s a judgement long overdue, and it’s time those who preach faith were held accountable for their role in oppression.

  7. Keith says

    I’m originally from Rochester, MN, and can tell you that this is going to be close. It will really come down to who comes out to vote. Once you’re outside of Minneapolis, it’s a very conservative state. Cities like St. Cloud, Mankato, and Duluth are surprisingly liberal due to their universities, but beyond that the rural areas are extremely conservative and there are Lutheran and Catholic churches on every major street corner in these small towns. The real problem, is that people in Minnesota don’t like to be thought of as bigots or discriminatory in nature, so it’s quite likely that publicly they’ll say one thing, but in the privacy of the voting booth they’ll do something completely different. I hope that the pro-equality side has a strong organization that will pick up and drive people to the polling stations, as well as ballot mail-in parties where everyone marks their ballots against the Amendment before mailing them in. Otherwise, it’ll be a rough ride, I fear.

  8. candide001 says

    Just wait until NOM throws its anti-gay smear machine into high gear. And now they have this phony Regnerus study that NOM bought just so they can broadcast all over the airwaves, “Major study shows children are harmed by gay parenting.” Instead of exposing the fraud and going on the offensive, our side will stick with the tried and failed strategy of showing non-threatening older lesbian couples and straight allies. “Please don’t kick the gays anymore. They don’t deserve to be kicked. It’s not right to kick them.” If we can’t win at least Washington and Maine, the entire marriage equality movement will have to be radically reorganized. It won’t be pretty.

  9. Rich says

    You, or rather Voltaire, makes a cogent case for irreligion. Whether religion or our species’ hardwiring as social critters is to blame for “Man’s inhumanity to Man” is an open question. Our experience with Marxist governments in the last century suggests that atheism is no surety against bad behavior, though religion has proved itself no guarantor of good behavior either.

    And in that last paragraph is the crux of our problem: we are incapable of viewing events without labeling them as “good” or “bad.” Whether we rely on pure self-interest or the Baltimore Cathechism, we can’t help caring how at least some things turn out.

    What makes belief an insoluble issue is that we live in a world of uncertainty. Rational though I may think myself, I have to make choices without full information. Even as a scientifically-oriented person, I will need to act on my null hypotheses. I can barely distinguish between “acting as if” and “believing” for my own choices; I am totally incapable of making that distinction when it comes to what others do.

    Many Americans (and while I hope that Minnesota voters are atypical, I don’t know that it is useful to act as if they are) rely on the dogmas of organized religion to provide their null hypotheses. The vote of someone who believes that Christ calls him to extend equal dignity to same-sex couples is as valuable as the vote of the person who believes that marriage equality is the gift of the Fourteenth Amendment. And we’ll need both of them to come to the polls and vote for us.

  10. jdb says

    @JJ, I don’t claim pure and noble intentions. I’m human, and sometimes pride and self-centeredness creep in.

    I also don’t ascribe to the sort of absolutism with which you view religion, so I’m afraid I must reject your premise. “The practice of religion” is not what causes cruelty and oppression. People do. Plenty of people today and throughout history have used and do use religion as a pretext for all kinds of abuse. To single out religion as the cause both abrogates the personal responsibility of the people involved and obscures the root cause.

    Faith is trust. But not, as you impute, trust in “Those who can make you believe absurdities.” Faith is trust in ideas and beliefs that hold value to an individual or a group. Faith is a concept, and not a harmful one or one that necessarily requires belief in “extraordinary claims without evidence.”

    Simply put, an idea that is true is worthy of trust. That is faith. No more. No less.

    Trust can be abused. So can faith. Especially when we misplace our faith and focus on people or power or greed rather than positive values. Trust in power lasts only until the power is threatened. Trust in greed lasts only until the well runs dry. Trust in love? When have you ever heard of someone running out of love?

    Mahatma Gandhi was motivated by his deep faith to nonviolently resist the colonial opression of his people.

    The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was motivated by and spoke from his deeply held faith, and knew the risks. Though he knew the risks, he kept struggling for a just society. It cost him his life.

    Faith does not require the rejection of reason. Both of these men (and many more) were eminently reasonable. My faith also does not require me to justify my values to you by “proving” to your satisfaction that they are worthwhile. The fact that they are good enough for me is the whole point of faith.

    If you’d like to hold me accountable for valuing faith, you’re in good company. Several 20th Century despots also “held accountable” people of faith who had the courage to stand up and reject evil by execution, exile, or incarceration.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re a Stalin. But I do question what, exactly, you think I’m guilty of and how, precisely, you think I ought to be “held accountable”?

  11. JJ says

    Put down your cross, JDB, “held accountable” doesn’t mean anything so sinister as tyranny. It means being vocal about the harms caused by faith and religion, even that practiced by those who aspire to be christlike (minus his support for slavery, one presumes). It means challenging people who claim that morality comes from religion, particularly those who cherry pick scripture for the teachings that fit their moral compass, give the credit (or justification) for those morals to religion, and then disavow all the other heinous and contemptible dictates. It means demanding that people who use religion to justify their opinions, their policies, their demands, to prove that what they believe is true.

    I stated in my last comment what I was using the word faith to mean (“believe extraordinary claims without evidence”). You’re welcome to explain what faith means to you, but simply redefining the word to your liking does nothing to refute the concept I expressed (look up Argument by Equivocation, if you like). Nor does pointing out paragons of virtue who happened to be religious. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make there. Are you saying they could not have been moral without faith? I suspect they were moral in _spite_ of their faith. Do you really think MLK advocated the death penalty for breaking the third commandment? I would think not. So wherever his morals came from, we can be pretty sure it wasn’t Numbers 15:32. Cherry picker.

  12. Dennis says

    I’d like to believe the ammendment will be voted down, but I agree that a lot of people will claim to be more open-minded in public than they will vote in private. Also, no surprise (sad though) that the catholics are being told to not even talk about the issue.

  13. Realist says

    Let’s start getting the word out equating Bachmann and her pro-amendment crowd with Nazis who will slowly take away your rights until only their group will have rights! Turn the fear factor against the fearmongers! :)