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Lutheran Bishop, Conservative Rabbi, and Evangelical Pastor Urge People of Faith to Vote No

Friday, August 24, 2012

Minnesotans United for All Families Kicks Off State Fair with 150 Members of Clergy United to Vote No on Freedom-Limiting Marriage Amendment

Kate Brickman, Press Secretary
Phone Number: 612-460-1219

August 23, 2012 – St. Paul, MN – As Minnesotans from across the state came together at the Minnesota State Fair, a group of 150 clergy gathered at the entrance to the fairgrounds to speak out against the proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples in Minnesota. The group marched to the State Fair singing “This Little Light of Mine” and carrying signs representing the more than a dozen denominations present.

“This amendment would fundamentally limit the freedom of religious institutions to decide who they can and cannot marry,” said Pastor Grant Stevensen, Faith Director for Minnesotans United for All Families. “It would tell a certain group of people that their relationship – the love, commitment and responsibility that marriage represents – is not valued in our society and not valued by God. And that is why we are out here today urging Minnesotans to Vote No.”

Bishop Anne Svennungsen, who leads the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest synod in the country, joined the clergy leaders and cited the resolution passed by five of six Minnesota ELCA Synods opposing the amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples in the state.

Bishop Svennungsen was one of three speakers at the Clergy United for All Families event today in Saint Paul. The group – which represents more than 200 clergy from a range of denominations – met Thursday to discuss how to organize within their communities of faith over the next 11 weeks to defeat the proposed amendment. Thursday’s meeting drew 150 of those clergy to for a meeting before addressing people outside the fairgrounds.

“The conversation in this state about how to strengthen families – all families – must continue,” Rabbi Harold Kravitz, the Senior Conservative Rabbi of Adath Jeshurun Congregation. “This amendment would end that conversation permanently – and that is why I am here today urging you to vote no.”

Minnesotans United for All Families represents more than 600 organizations that have joined the coalition to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment. About 20 percent of the coalition is made up communities of faith, which continue to be on the forefront of the opposition efforts.

“This amendment is an attempt to stand in God’s way, to stand in the way of his love for all people and his love for gay and lesbian couples,” said Pastor Adam Rao, an Evangelical Christian minister at SafeHouse Church in Minneapolis. “To vote yes is to say that God is not to be found in gay and lesbian people – that love and commitment are not to be found in their relationships. That’s why I am urging you today to vote no.”

The event kicked off the first day of the Minnesota State Fair, where Minnesotans United for All Families will spend 12 days continuing the statewide conversation about what marriage means and who should have the freedom to participate in it. Through a booth within the State Fair grounds, “Vote No on a Stick” fans, as well innovative mobile advertising, Minnesotans United will work with 1,000 volunteers to spark thousands of conversations about why it’s so important to defeat the amendment. Prominent leaders from across the state will join Minnesotans United throughout the State Fair to lend their voices to the growing momentum of opposition sweeping across every corner of the state.

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