A group trying to defeat the marriage amendment is launching the first television advertisement of the campaign season.

Freedom to Marry, a national group pushing for states to approve same-sex marriage, has bought about $500,000 in air time to run television advertisements in the Twin Cities and Duluth.

“We applaud Freedom to Marry for their educational campaign, which is changing thousands of hearts and minds in Minnesota,” said Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, the lead group opposing the amendment.

The 30-second spot, titled “Grandparents,” features Yvonne and Fred Peterson of Duluth discussing their 59 year marriage and how their position on marriage evolved after learning their grandson is gay.

“If someone would have asked me if gay people should get married, I would have said no,” she said.
“I fought for the basic freedoms of all people” said Fred, a veteran. “The world is changing. Gay and lesbian people want to get married for the same reason that I wanted to marry my wife. Why shouldn’t other people be able to enjoy the happiness and love we’ve enjoyed through our lifetime?”

The commercial highlights the conversations the Minnesotans United campaign has been trying spark have around the state. In November, voters will be asked whether to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which is already illegal in the state.

The Peterson family, Carlbom said, “have been on a journey about how they feel about marriage for same-sex couples. And over time, they’ve come to the conclusion that same-sex couples want to marry for similar reasons to straight couples: to make a lifelong commitment to one another based on mutual love and responsibility.”

Minnesotans for Marriage, the group pushing the marriage amendment, says marriage is a sacred institution designed by God for the purpose of raising children. The group has not not unveiled any television advertising. In other states, the campaign is known for releasing a blizzard of powerful advertisements in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Minnesota for Marriage has been releasing new “Marriage Minute” videos every week. The most recent video warned that without the amendment, activist judges or future legislatures could authorize same-sex marriage, without voters automatically getting a say.

Here is Freedom to Marry's ad: