By Rose French
Minnesota religious leaders -- both for and against the marriage amendment -- are rallying around their causes in the days leading up to Tuesday’s vote on the measure.
On Thursday, the pro-amendment group Pastors for Marriage announced that more than 500 Christian pastors and leaders have endorsed the amendment -- which if passed would change the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and woman, effectively banning same-sex marriage.
The faith leaders represent Minnesota Assemblies of God, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic and other churches, according to a released statement from the group, which is a member of the coalition Minnesota for Marriage, the main group campaigning in support of the amendment.
“God created man and woman to join together as partners of equal worth and ordained the male-female bodily union as the only means through which new human life is produced," the group said in a statement. "Marriage, then, is a gift from God, intended to be a blessing to the man-woman partners, to any children born of such a union, to society as a means of establishing order, and to reflect God’s relationship with His bride, the Church.”
Click here to read the entire statement and the see names of all the religious leaders who signed on.
On other side of the debate, more than 1,000 Minnesotans are expected to join some 150 clergy from a range of denominations opposed to the amendment 7 p.m. Thursday for a worship service “in support of all families in opposition to the amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota,” according to a statement from Minnesotans United for All Families, the main group working to defeat the amendment.
Following the worship service at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, clergy will leave the church and, joined by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, will bless the “Minnesota Votes No Tour” as it kicks off its statewide get-out-the-vote tour.
The group has about 600 members of his church outreach program, called Clergy United.
The debate over the marriage amendment has heavily divided the state’s religious community, with Minnesota’s Catholic bishops and conservative Evangelical Protestants campaigning in support of the measure. Minnesota’s bishops with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America have publicly opposed the measure, along with a number of other Mainline Protestant faithful.