Catholic bishops, NOM continue assault on gay marriage efforts in Minnesota



Some of Minnesota’s Catholic bishops are preparing a push against the legalization of same-sex marriage in the final two months of the 2010 campaign season.


While most Minnesota bishops have not yet made their plans public, Bishop John Quinn of Winona reports that his diocese is sending parishes a DVD that provides “more detail about the Church’s teaching on marriage and about the possible effects that a same sex marriage policy would have in our state.”

Traditional marriage is suffering attacks, Quinn wrote in the diocese newsletter, and “the most threatening now are efforts to legalize ‘same sex’ or ‘gay’ marriage, that is, marriage between two men or between two women.”

The effort is part of a larger campaign by Minnesota’s Roman Catholic bishops. [Minnesota Independent]

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis brought in Maggie Gallagher earlier this year to discuss strategies for opposing gay marriage. Gallagher is a founder of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that has targeted Minnesota extensively in 2010.

And last week, Archbishop John Neinstedt renewed his call for an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution banning same-sex marriage.

Earlier in the week, the Minnesota Family Council released poll numbers that it says shows an advantage for GOP candidate Tom Emmer when the issue of gay marriage is put before voters.

The poll, commissioned by the NOM, the poll shows that DFL candidate Mark Dayton has a strong lead over Emmer — 42 percent to 33 percent — until voters learn of each candidate’s position on gay marriage. Respondents then chose Emmer 42 percent to 36 percent.

Emmer, you might recall, has received support from MN Forward, a political action committee, that counts Target and Best Buy among its corporate donors.

The poll differs from one released by Minnesota Public Radio in early September, which found a slight majority of respondents opposing gay marriage (51 percent to 40 percent) and nearly two thirds of Minnestons (64 percent) supportive of allowing same-sex couples to enter into legal arrangements such as civil unions.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said he views Minnesota as one of the next states that could legalize gay marriage, and his group may spend more in the state to help its favored candidates win in November.

Earlier this year, both the Minnesota House and Senate conducted their first ever hearings into legalizing gay marriage in the state.

The three bills contemplated during testimony from both advocates and opponents were: one to create civil unions, one to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages and one to allow full legal marriage for same-sex couples. The hearings were for information only, and no votes were planned.

In May, three same-sex couples filed suit in Hennepin County District Court, alleging that Minnesota law violates the families’ right to due process, equal protection, freedom of association and freedom of conscience.

“Not only does Minnesota stand to be the next state poised to win marriage equality, but Mark Dayton is in a very strong position to be the next governor,” Solmonese said.

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