The lead group opposing the marriage amendment released its first television ad of the campaign season Tuesday, taking direct aim at the Catholic Church's strong support of the measure.

Minnesotans United for All Families' ad features John and Kim Canny, lifelong Republicans and Catholics, encouraging Minnesotans to vote no on the proposed amendment that would cement a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution.

"The Cannys, informed by their faith and conservative values, represent many Minnesotans who have come to the conclusion they don't want to limit the freedom to marry for committed same-sex couples," Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, said in statement. "At the end of the day, they have concluded that there are all kinds of Minnesota families, and no one would want to be told it's illegal to marry the person you love."

In the 30-second spot, the Cannys say their position on same-sex marriage evolved as they spent 13 years raising children in Savage.

"Marriage is really important to me," John said. "I didn't really think a lot about same-sex marriage."

When a gay couple moved into their neighborhood with their adopted son, the Cannys said they realized that same-sex couples want to marry to make a lifetime commitment based on love and responsibility – the same reasons they married.

The Cannys say the new couple provoked a family conversation, and one that revealed a generational divide.

"We did have some good discussions," John said. "In our daughter's world, her normal is so much different than ours. It didn't faze her at all."

At the end of the ad, Kim encourages Minnesotans to continue wrestling with the issue. "And when you do," John says, "vote no."

Minnesotans United will spend roughly $500,000 to air the ad, beginning in the Twin Cities and Duluth.

View the ad here: