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Group asks archbishop to reconsider push for marriage amendment

Posted by: Baird Helgeson under Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: March 5, 2012 - 5:47 PM

A group of Catholics angered by Archbishop John Nienstedt’s support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage are asking the Catholic leader to end his campaign supporting the change.

Catholics for Marriage Equality Minnesota are asking Nienstedt and all Minnesota bishops to follow Bishop Richard Malone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine. After actively working against a previous proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, Malone has now decided to not give money or staffing support to defeat a similar measure.

“We are encouraged by Bishop Malone’s decision to place at the center of the Church’s mission in Maine Jesus’ call to care for the poor and marginalized,” said Michael Bayly, executive director of Catholics for Marriage Equality Minnesota. “We pray that the bishops here in Minnesota will not only follow the example of Maine but will also be open to the love and commitment embodied in the relationships of committed gay and lesbian couples.”

The group has started an online petition drive, asking Nienstedt to redirect church resources away from constitutional amendments.

Nienstedt has warned Catholic clergy across Minnesota that there should be no "open dissension" of the church's backing of a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

The Catholic Church was a significant contributor to groups pushing the amendment.

He has warned that a priest could be stripped of a ministry if he continues to disagree "with the church's teaching on marriage."

Staff writer Rose French contributed to this post.

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