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Minnesota Faith Leaders to Minnesota Lawmakers: Protect Marriage

Faith leaders in Minnesota, representing hundreds of faith communities, have written an open letter to Minnesota lawmakers urging them to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“The promotion and protection of marriage is a matter of the common good,” the signers write. “It serves the wellbeing of the man and woman, of children, of civil society, and all people.” The signers call “essential” the continued affirmation of marriage between a man and a woman because redefining it would degrade the cultural understanding of marriage to an emotional bond between any two adults.

Signers include leaders of Muslim, Baptist, Jewish, Evangelical, Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox, and Buddhist communities.

As religious leaders, the signers caution that the idea that religious freedom is restricted to a house of worship “is wrong and dangerous.” In that light, the idea that religious freedom would be protected as long as ministers were not forced to preside over same-sex “marriages” is misguided. “The real peril,” say the signers, is “if marriage is redefined in civil law, religious individuals and other organizations – regardless of the foundational tenants of their faith – will be required to consider same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their lives, ministries, and operations.”

Read the entire letter here (PDF).

Read the press release from the Minnesota Catholic Conference (April 18, 2013)

5 responses to “Minnesota Faith Leaders to Minnesota Lawmakers: Protect Marriage”

  1. Tirsa Warner says:

    Thank you!

  2. John Buckley says:

    As a gay man, legally married to my same sex spouse for 8 years I see our marriage as a fundamental social institution beneficial for the both of us as the ideal structure to live interdependently, recognizing the equal dignity and value of one another. For us, this is the natural order, embracing the complementary physical, emotional, and spiritual design of men and women. Therefore, the promotion and protection of marriage is a matter of the common good. It serves the wellbeing of the men and women, of children, of civil society, and all people (key words here are ‘all people’). Faith leaders present a cogent argument in support of marriage equality, and nearly the same argument that I would present for myself.

    Overlooked and completely ignored in the leaders’ argument is the overwhelming information from biological, psychological and medical studies that consistently identify homosexuality is a naturally occurring predetermined immutable trait. When compared to the broader category of human sexuality, the observations of sexual attractions and pair bonding (i.e. falling in love) are the same for the same sex couple as it is for the heterosexual couple. This is so critical to understanding marriage equality because this is what is at the heart of all marriage. Long after any children are born and raised and on their own, a loving couple remains. Even after the loss of a spouse that attraction and need for bonding and companionship remains strong.

    In eight years, the only dangerous or harmful situations that resulted from my marriage were caused by ideological assaults from uninformed self-righteous faith leaders’ and others intent to label our union deviant. We have suffered relentless attacks from employers forcing us to leave our respective jobs at different times. We lost insurance coverage in both of those cases because neither insurance company recognized our marriage. The most humiliating (and frightening) experience however, was at the hands of a Baptist minister who decided to hold a prayer meeting with his congregation to denounce us on the sidewalk in front of our house.

    Our experiences pale in comparison to the harm done by religious leaders and their followers to LGBT youth. Despite the proven science and inherent psychological harm, these kids are told they are “intrinsically disordered” (Yes, the Pope Emeritus actually said that about homosexuality) and now they are told in a letter signed by leaders who represent hundreds of faith communities that for them, falling in love is not only sinful, and risks eternal damnation, but any public attempt to celebrate their love would endanger society, degrade our culture and ultimately violate the good conscience of all religious individuals throughout the world.

    Marriage equality would not matter so much if it wasn’t for that interpersonal and interdependent relationship between the couple in love. When that bond is destroyed or the prospect for falling in love is removed, forbidden or otherwise demonized, the psychological harm to one or both individuals can be devastating. For kids struggling with their sexuality, this is a common reality that leads many into deep despair. Many decide suicide is a better option. For that reason the institution must be protected for all people, not just some. As a society we take pride in our knowledge of science, biology, psychology, and medicine, and we strive to use it for the greater good. It is absolutely reprehensible that anyone, especially religious leaders can show such a careless disregard for humanity to ignore proven scientific principles to stubbornly support dogma that does more harm than good.

  3. Ann says:

    All liberals only talk about themselves. (Me me me) what they want) u sir will never understand putting God first and not ur selfish me me me wants and lust. Take up your cross abandon earthly wants and follow him. That is not something you could ever understand. If u reply I will count how many times u talk about yourself. Marriage is an will always be one man one woman, why. God says so,no matter what foolish men say. We must love those that suffer with same sex attraction they need to live a chaste life with the help oh God. ,but I am not going to abandon my God to make u feel better.

    • John Buckley says:

      Ann, I mentioned my marriage only as a point of reference and to explain the wrongs done to my spouse and me in the name of religion. I also meant to demonstrate that gay marriage is a reality happening around us without causing any harm to anyone who does not want to participate. I also commented about how science and medicine is relevant to this discussion; it must not be ignored because it has forced changes to religious dogma in the past and continues to do so today. Most importantly, I wrote about my fears for the gay youth who do not yet understand their humanity. The message that Church leaders (and you) are sending them is endangering their lives.

      Finally, to address your response directly, you do not know me and we have never met; I am at odds to explain why you think you know as much as you claim to know about me. My political affiliation is not particularly liberal; it is based on a fair assessment of facts and opinions from as many sources and perspectives as I can find.

      I do not suffer from same sex attraction; I embrace it and celebrate it. My relationship with my spouse is not based on selfish wants and lust; it is based on our wedding vows to love, honor, and trust each other and remain faithful for the rest of our lives.

      You do not know my relationship with God; He has never spoken directly to me (or to you, about it) and I doubt he has spoken directly to anyone about anything recently. We do not know what He says about gay marriage. Jesus spoke only of divorce. St. Paul (who never met Jesus and started his ministry a generation after his death) did speak disapprovingly of homosexual relationships, but he also advocated for complete abstinence from all sexual relationships as the best way to honor God and prepare for the second coming of Christ. (for some irony, Paul also preached that Jesus would definitely return in his lifetime and women should be silent in churches and remain submissive as the law says. 1 Corinthians 14:34).

      The best we can do is try to interpret God’s message and recognize when to modify it, as it was written by unknown men with an unknown agenda (foolish men?) using only the tools and knowledge they possessed at that time.

  4. Ann says:

    Me me me , I proved it. All you think about Is yourself and that is all you will ever think about. You will never understand “take your cross deny yourself and follow him. ” you must love God more than everything on earth and follow the teaching of his church. You choose not to obey and make your own rules. Liberals think they are so smart, even smarter than God. And they are only tollerent with those that agree with them, so yes I believe your a liberal. Your goal is to shut up those that differ from your views/beliefs. Unlike you I am a true bible believing Christian, not a cafeteria Christian. The church says those that suffer with same sex attraction must be celibate, you choose not to be and that is the sin. So you may want to stop hanging out on catholic websites and stop wasting your time. 2000 years if church teaching can’t be ignored or changed. And don’t give me any silly changes like the Pope washing a woman’s foot to say they make changes, nobody can change the bible.

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