Minnesota Marriage Amendment


FRED DE SAM LAZARO, correspondent: Minnesota is the 32nd state where voters have been asked to weigh in on same sex marriage. In every case, they’ve voted to ban it. Eighteen states outlawed civil unions as well. Minnesota’s question is narrow: Should the state constitution define marriage as the union of one man and one woman? A “yes” vote would prohibit laws to legalize gay marriage, though it wouldn’t preclude civil unions.

DALE CARPENTER (University of Minnesota Law School): The fact that the amendment is just focused on the marital status itself is a reflection of a new reality, which is that much of the public accepts that same sex relationships are legitimate and that they have legal needs but may not be ready to accept the title of marriage quite yet. I don’t think that’s a form of bigotry, I think that’s a form of risk-averseness.

Prof. Dale Carpenter, University of MinnesotaDE SAM LAZARO: Law professor Dale Carpenter has studied the issue of gay marriage. He’s with the No Campaign, which includes civic and gay rights groups and a growing number of churches sympathetic to what they say is equity for gay couples. But Carpenter admits many people are reluctant to redefine an age-old social institution.

CARPENTER: I think for a lot of people there’s a strong religious conviction that God made marriage and marriage is for one man and one woman…

Cathedral service: This year as we come for the Rosary parade, we are thinking about the beauty of the sacrament of marriage..

DE SAM LAZARO: For supporters of the amendment, that conviction is at its core.

ARCHBISHOP JOHN NIENSTEDT (St Paul-Minneapolis): Marriage matters to every Minnesotan, whether or not we personally choose to marry. Intuitively we know it is the natural way we bring together men and women to conceive and raise the next generation…

Archbishop John NienstedtDE SAM LAZARO: Minneapolis St. Paul Catholic archbishop John Nienstedt has spearheaded the pro marriage amendment campaign, appropriating more than one million dollars and delivering public messages like this one…

NIENSTEDT: What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that Moms and Dads are interchangeable, and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children? We know from experience that in other states, children as young as first-graders are taught by the government that gay marriage and traditional marriage are both the same…

DE SAM LAZARO: Several churches and faith-based groups have joined in the Yes Campaign. A Minnesota law passed in 1997 already prohibits same sex marriage. But proponents say absent constitutional protection, that could change at the whim of a judge or legislature, with daunting consequences for institutions and people of faith who oppose gay marriage.

Pastor Jeff EvansJEFF EVANS (Evangelical Pastor): Catholic Charities, for instance, in Boston, they were mandated after same sex marriage was legalized there by the legislature, it was mandated that they place children in their adoption agency within same sex couples and of course that violated the conscience of Roman Catholics there and they/were forced to close their doors

DE SAM LAZARO: It’s such concerns that have drawn volunteers to the Minnesotans for Marriage phone banks. Tommy Burns, a father of six, is a recent transplant to Minnesota from Massachusetts

TOMMY BURNS (Volunteer): When I think back to again, to what happened in Massachusetts and New York, when politicians can push that through on the people, it’s disheartening. So again I am just very pleased that this state is allowing us to vote on it.

LISA RUMBAUGH (Volunteer): I got involved because I want to see the Bible being preserved, so many of the moral things, the moral fiber of society is being erased and I believe that it’s a sin to practice homosexuality; there’s many places in the Bible that say that.

DE SAM LAZARO: High profile personalities have thrown their hat in. For the Yes side, former Minnesota Vikings star Matt Birk.

MATT BIRK (NFL): I can put up with a lot from government, like higher taxes. And while I don’t like it, pushing God out of public schools. But letting a small number of government and business elites and judges define what marriage is to Minnesotans doesn’t seem very fair.

DE SAM LAZARO: Amendment opponents have their own take on government interference.

JESSE VENTURE (Former Governor, I-MN): Government should not be telling people who to fall in love with, government should not be telling people who to cohabit with.

DE SAM LAZARO: Some big employers, like cereal maker General Mills have publicly opposed the amendment, arguing it would hurt recruitment. Others have stayed neutral but say they support their gay employees and customers. Retailer Target notes that its marriage registry welcomes gay couples. However, unlike many other state campaigns, some of the most prominent No voices have also come from pulpits and preachers.

CARPENTER: Many campaigns have run away from religion, in the past, trying to say there’s a separation of religion and state. Whereas in Minnesota I think we have embraced the idea that a person of faith can and should oppose the amendment.

DE SAM LAZARO: The No campaign’s faith director, Grant Stevensen, is a pastor at this St. Paul Lutheran congregation.

REV. GRANT STEVENSEN: We’re acting on our faith but we’re also acting on behalf of children that come from families that don’t fit in one small box of what a family looks like. It’s terrible for children to hear that one type of family is a normal family, is a good family and then another family, maybe your family, with two moms or two dads is not a normal family. I think that’s really difficult and devastating for children.

Former Governor Jesse VenturaTV Spot: Used to be this wasn’t even an issue. Marriage was one man and one woman. But times change and I’ve thought about it more…

DE SAM LAZARO: Campaign commercials for both sides have been largely free of anger or vitriol. This ad for the “no” side emphasizes fairness.

TV Spot: My marriage is the most important thing in my life. Who am I to deny that to anybody, gay or straight? I’m not going to limit the basic freedom just because I’m uncomfortable.

FMR. GOV. JESSE VENTURA: This is not a Democrat issue, this is not a Republican issue, this is not a liberal or a conservative issue.

DE SAM LAZARO: It is a deeply religious issue, and the religious coalitions, like the political ones, transcend the traditional divide.

PASTOR EVANS: There are Roman Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, minority ethnic churches, Presbyterians like myself, non-denominational folks, all coming together, rallying together behind marriage, and it’s brought people together on the yes side.

Nancy ScanlanBut at a cost. Sharp divisions have played out publicly in the Catholic Church. Priests were asked not to publicly oppose the amendment but some have been defiant. This video posted on the internet is of Fr. Bob Pierson, a Benedictine monastic and therefore not under diocesan jurisdiction. He says the church has no business in this issue.

REV. BOB PIERSON (St. John’s Abbey): Until now, the Church hasn’t concerned itself with civil marriage. The church doesn’t recognize civil marriage of its members. If a Catholic is married in a civil ceremony, they are said to be married outside of the Church and the marriage is not recognized.

DE SAM LAZARO: Whatever the ballot outcome, the rift is likely to linger.

PIERSON: Is it getting uncomfortable to go to church these days? (nods, yes)

DE SAM LAZARO: A group of prominent Catholics called this news conference to express their opposition.

NANCY SCANLAN: When I first heard about the amount of money that was taken out of the archdiocese funds to pay for this amendment and know how schools closing and teachers not getting paid well and things that I think that should be addressed in a social justice way, I was so angry I sat right down and wrote a letter. And the letter that I got back said to me, “I’m sorry you don’t see things our way. We may end up being a smaller—stronger church.”

DE SAM LAZARO: The church has come under fire for heavy spending. However, opponents of the amendment have outspent its supporters by four to one. Still, recent polls show a tight race, well within the margin of error.

For Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, this is Fred de Sam Lazaro, at home, in St. Paul.

  • shevmonster

    Politics makes strange bedfellows. As a devout Catholic growing up, I was told over and over again that I was not a Christian, by evangelicals who claimed, of course, that Catholicism was idolatrous and even satanic. And Mormonism… and Islam???? It is extraordinary that Baptists, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, Pentecostals, the Catholic Hierarchy (but not every day Catholics), and Muslims, all hate gays so much that they will put aside their hatred for each other to work together to oppress the rights of this minority group.

    Christ never once condemned nor even alluded to homosexuality, despite wide-spread knowledge of same sex household during the Roman times in which Christ lived. (I for one think that Christ would have had the courage to talk about it if homosexuality were a sin worth mentioning, but I guess evangelicals thought he was a coward.) There are 8 fleeting references to homosexuality in the bible, all of which are highly disputable as to whether they actually condemn homosexuality. There are 25 passages condemning those who are left handed, including passages from Christ’s very own mouth. So if these groups were truly following the bible as they claim, they would be putting more than 3 times as much effort into fighting the evils of left-handedness… clearly something else is their true motive.

    There are multiple bible passages that were used to justify racism and slavery. The Southern Baptist Church was founded on the principal that slavery of blacks in the United States was Godly. The church whose very foundation was the justification of slavery, and later, along with the Mormons, fought to the bitter end to defend racial segregation, now quotes chapter and verse, just like they did on slavery and segregation, against gays. And we are supposed to believe that this is based on religious principal, rather than them just using biblical passages to justify their own bigotry?

    The groups that used the bible to defend slavery and segregation, as well as to condemn lefties, have miraculously forgotten all about these passages now that it no longer serves their interests to try to make arguments that society has rightfully identified as morally abhorrent. Of all groups, I must say, I am the most disappointed by African Americans who participate in this perversion of Christianity. Southern Baptists and Mormons fought to the bitter end to preserve slavery and segregation, and now some African Americans have somehow forgotten who their own oppressors were and are willing to work with them to oppress others…

    People are born left handed. It’s true, these people “choose” to use their left hands, and could use their right hands if they really wanted to do so, but doing so is not natural to them, and forcing them to do so is destructive to them and pointless for society. The same is true for gays and Lesbians. Just because something is natural for the vast majority does not make it natural for all. There are more than 100 animal species that engage in homosexual behavior, and if it occurs in nature, it is by definition natural.

    The real reason behind hatred of gays is that when straight men think of sex between two men, they find the thought absolutely disgusting. Well congratulations, that makes you straight. When gays think about having sex with the opposite sex, they find the idea equally repugnant. If you are straight, imagine how horrible it would be if you had to live your life having gay sex and pretending to be gay… because that is the horrific life sentence that homophobes are proscribing for others.

  • Ken Poston

    Whenever a church goes against God’s word, God goes out and Satan comes in, and so it will go for those that condone homosexual marriage. As for the gay rights movement — the only right that gays don’t have is the right to some of the benefits that married people have. They could fight for the benefits and leave the meaning of marriage alone but that would hinder the devil’s plan. Satan didn’t convince people to be gay simply to be an abomination to God. Surely he wants gays to have church weddings and that if marriage law includes the joining of homosexuals then the church will eventually have to comply. So to you churches for gay marriage, if you are not up to doing the ceremonies then you will eventually be sued for abomination discrimination.

  • Jeffrey Marks

    There are so many outright lies in this story that I don’t know where to begin. First, it’s not 32-0, it’s 33-1. AZ voted in favor of marriage first, but the haters put it on the ballot again where it was voted down.

    Catholic Charities were not forced out of business. They could easily have continued their mission IF THEY DID NOT TAKE FEDERAL MONEY. However, they valued the dollar more than children and opted to stop placing all children rather than continue without federal funds and regulations.

    MA got marriage from a judicial ruling, NY got marriage from the legislature and governor. They were not the same.

    Please at least take the time to report accurately.

  • wayne

    It’s really very simple. Religions have every right to turn away same sex couples from its church doors. They have NO such right to turn them away from the Courthouse doors!

  • Channah

    ”Should the state constitution define marriage as the union of one man and one woman? ”
    This is not an issue that should be put into any state constitution, nor in the Constitiution of the USA. There were those who once pushed for this.

    What does it hurt if a same sex marraige happens? It will have nothing to do to interfer with a man/woman marriage. Some say it will break the family down. How in the world can this happen? Is it interferring with your family? I think not.

    I am so disgusted with those who push their agendas on everyone. If one believes something–fine. Believe it. Live by it for yourself. But, do not try to force your viewpoints on me and others. This goes for marraige, abortion, and anything else that is no ones business but the people envolved.

  • Doug

    I am Gay. My partner and I have been together for nearly nineteen years. We have a sixteen year old SON who is a junior in high school. He plays Varsity football and plays the entire game. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and is sixth in his class. He attends church every Sunday. We do not attend with him and never have because of our fear of him being ostrasized. This is very sad to me that Christians. Would do this but CHRISTIANS DO. Christians are hurting innocent very productive members of society. All to maintain some dominance over the instituion of marriage. Frankly my partner and I could careless whether or not some church opens its doors to allow us to marry, but I live in a country that separates CHURCH FROM STATE. So whether or not the church wants to call it marriage or some legal term, such as legally binded, the fact is our basic constituional rights are being violated and YOU are hurting MY child and I won’t stand for it. The church doesn’t owe me the right to marry, but my country does owe me and MY FAMILY. The exact same constitutional rights as everyone else and that’s not happening. WAKE UP AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE, that seems to be being missed all together. My son is the model of what america is supposed to be and YOU are hurting him. Ya gotta love those CHRISTIAN VALUES. By the way my sons name is Christian. Could it get more irionic.

  • JDE

    ” ‘I’m sorry you don’t see things our way. We may end up being a smaller—stronger church.’ ”

    Good. Let the Church marginalize itself into oblivion.

  • Dan

    churches are not owned by the pastor or priest. altars are not policitical billboards. no matter your position, express what you want privately but leave church property out of it. the ones that have such decoration should be immediately visited by the IRS and, if not compliant, stripped of their tax exemption forthwith.

  • Humanist

    People should feel safe to be who they are as long as there is no violence involved. Let them get married.

  • Channah, again

    Many European countries unite a couple in marraige by a civil ceremony in the court house, civil building, or whatever. This is the LEGAL marraige. Then, if the couple wants a religious ceremony, they go for that afterwards. If the USA did likewise, the church would have no say in who could marry whom. It would not be a religious issue. Couples, man/woman, woman/woman, man/man should have this legal right to marriage-and to heck with the churches.

  • Phil malat

    What has happened to the Catholic Church? The Catholic Church that indoctrinated me strongly supported civil rights and the civil rights act of 1964.

    Today they are leading the charge to suppress the civil liberties of gays in Minnesota and nationwide. They have mounted a strong appeal for Minnesotans to vote yes on the constitutional amendment stripping gays of the opportunity to marry.

    The church opposes this measure is based on theological doctrines. With that opposition, it becomes morally incumbent upon them to provide alternative measures by which gays can acquire the same civil liberties that are enjoyed by heterosexuals. Until such measures are proposed and enacted into law the only solution, at this point, would be to allow for whatever constitutes a legally binding commitment under the law. If all that is offered is marriage then the church needs to step back and be silent until it has time to properly recalibrate its moral compass.

    The church’s failure to help advance the civil liberties being denied to anyone clearly and legitimately jeopardized their credibility as a moral leader in the world. Most Catholics are astute enough to know that the chances of them losing their souls should they vote” NO” on the constitutional marriage amendment on the Minnesota ballot, are about as great as they once where for eating meat on Friday.

  • Wayne

    I defy any person to locate a Bible verse whereby God is QUOTED as saying that marriage is only between one man and one woman. I do not worship Leviticus, St Paul or anyone else who thinks they know what God would say. Nor do I slaughter my disobedient children as commanded by your Bible and I love the taste of shrimp……so does my barber!

  • Joe Sazl

    Bob Pierson is out of communion with the Catholic Church. Like most of the monks of St. John’s Abbey the central facts of his priesthood is that he is gay, militantly opposed to Church teaching, and outspoken about both.

    It is not extraneous that 31 monks of St. John’s Abbey have been accused of sexual abuse and misconduct in the last 22 years, and this week Fr. Mel Taylor and Fr. Dan Ward were on Foxnews with their new investigation.

    He is not exactly riding on much of a high moral horse here…

  • Robert Carver

    You just don’t put the civil liberties up for a vote. Americans have a diversity of beliefs and the Constitution guarantees that we have the individual freedom of conscience. The separation between religion and the government protects private religious practice while keeping religious dogma out of our secular laws. We agree to this social contract by being citizens of this secular Republic and we are free to leave anytime we choose. We have our Constitution and Bill of Rights in place to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. This is why this vote is unethical, unconstitutional and un-American. You are free to believe what you wish but you are not free to use the power of the government to push your religious belief onto others.

  • Barb K

    I would like to add to this response to the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. I am a senior citizen and I also believe FOR MYSELF that marriage is between a man and a woman. BUT……. I am voting no on the one woman one man amendment. Why, its because there is so much hatred in this world that when someone finds that special one to love they should be able to marry, doesnt matter who that special someone is. I have alway believed in God, but get alittle disturbed at these churches that will not let gays and lesbians attend. Doesnt the church know that God loves all his children. Its kind of sad when the church will let murderers attend, thieves, adulteress, and everyone else that has sinned against the ten commandments, but choose to not let gays or lesbians in their church doors. Shame on those churches. The God I know and love would never allow this. Everyday when I look to the people on my left and the people on my right I know God loves them just as much as he loves me. NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE.

  • Pam Fiecke

    My response to the Minnesota Marriage Amendment stands strong in believing what the Bible and the Commandments teach. Exodus 20:114: The sixth Commandment. :You shall not commit adultry.” Romans 1:26-27: Homosexuality is “unnatural, indecent and a perversion.” 1 Corinthians 6-9-11: Unrepentant “homosexuality offenders” are listed as those who will not enter the kingdom of God. Homosexuality is all about not being obedient to God’s ways. There will be punishment as it is a sin in God’s eyes. We need to follow the Bible which is the moral fiber of our society and not erase that which is good and acceptable. Marriage is a Gift from God meant to be between a woman and a man. I vote “YES!!!” We need to speak out against this “SIN!!” The government does not have the right to change the definition of marriage, or to tell us what to teach about marriage. This is an issue of “Freedom of Religion.”

  • Ashley H.

    In response to shevmonster :

    You mentioned the references in the Bible that mention homosexuality and whether Christ referenced homosexuality….I don’t know if any of the references you researched had to do with the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah….I am sure you know that God blinded those men and boys who “practiced” homosexuality and destroyed those cities with those people in them, sparing righteous Lot and his two daughters.

    Also The Apostle Paul who was drawn by Christ himself proved in 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 that people who “practice” homosexuality will “not inherit God’s Kingdom”. If you noticed in those verses he continued to say “yet that was what some of you were, but you have been washed clean”. So a person can change to living a life that is in harmony with God’s principles and standards.

    Now I do have to say that just because a person may want to be normal or straight in their mind that may be a battle….mentally. However, just because they have those thoughts DOES NOT mean that have to ACT on them.

    Take for instance a person who once liked taking drugs and who came realize the harm that doing drugs may have on them and their families etc.
    They may think about doing the drugs, but they refrain and use self-control to not ACT on the thoughts they have.

    Holy Spirit is very powerful….look at how it changed many persons in the Bible who were once murderers etc.

    If you want to live my God’s standards you can pray for help…it won’t be an easy battle because the Devil does not want anyone to live right…but it will be worth it….you will God’s approval.

    I hope I was not disrespectful in anyway. I do not hate Gay or Lesbian persons but I do not condone the actions.

  • Steven J

    Anti-gay billboards, yard signs and television ads sanctioned by the state and A government call for a popular vote on a minority population as well as calm PBS discussions on the possible equality of citizens. And No, Churches don’t have the right to turn away gay couples from their doors and they cannot coerce parents to ostracize their gay children that have been baptized and raised in faith. The problem has always been serious. Now everyone is taking huge steps backwards and sideways trying to avoid this grievous reality instead of facing what they see.

  • Joe Titus

    Was Jesus “Anti-Gay” when clearly stating the following? As Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear…”

    “But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
    (Mark 10:7-9 and Matthew 19:3-6)

    “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement …there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” (Matthew 19:7-12)

    “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)
    i.e. Salt is a preservative, and Christians are called to be preservatives against societal degeneration

    Jesus said the FIRST and greatest commandment is to love GOD with all your being
    and the SECOND commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.

    To love your neighbor as yourself is to treat him/her as you would want to be treated, with respect and dignity.

    BUT loving your neighbor in the context of loving God also means “speaking the truth in love” to your neighbor.

    *Now for some tougher teachings of Jesus:

    “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill…” “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 5:17-19)…

    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire… (Mark 9:42-44)

    “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”

    “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

    “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.“ (Matthew 5:27-29)

    “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you..’I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…

    *Therefore the Apostle Paul who wrote the “love chapter” of 1Corinthians 13 also said:

    Love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” (1Cor. 13:6)

    “DO NOT BE DECEIVED; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such WERE some of you; BUT you were WASHED, but you were SANCTIFIED, but you were JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor. 6:9-11)

  • duststorm

    It’s crazy to say that two people of the same sex should marry. The Democrats have lost their minds. I left the Democratic party this year, 2012, because they have endorsed gay marriage in the platform. There it is, in black and white. Nope, I will not be going with that. I’m out.

  • Ashley Hudson

    Nice verses to quote Joe Titus.
    Here is another one that you might have thought about:

    John 4:24
    “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.”

    So many feel that they can practice a “faith” that suits their personal way of life.

    Jesus said we MUST worship in Truth.
    and notice where Jesus said we can find truth when he prayed to his Father before his death:
    John 17:17
    “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.

    So by really trying to mold our lives on God’s Word and the teachings of Jesus will help all of us to worship and have faith according to God’s standards and NOT our own.

    For this nation as a whole to claim to be “under God” , seems to not be according to how Jesus worshiped.