The annual Twin Cities Pride Festival was held in Minneapolis' Loring Park on the weekend of June 23-24. It's one of the biggest Gay Pride events in the country, with hundreds of thousands of attendees and 500+ exhibitors. Catholics for Marriage Equality MN shared a double booth with Dignity Twin Cities, and those who helped staff the booths of both organizations received words of affirmation, encouragement and gratitude from countless festival attendees. Without doubt, people appreciate a Catholic presence at Pride.
Following are the three main reasons why Catholics can vote ‘no’ on the ‘marriage amendment.’
1. The Primacy of Conscience
Our Catholic tradition teaches us that conscience is the highest norm, and that we are to follow our conscience, even in opposition to official church authority. In good conscience, many Catholics have pledged to vote ‘no’ on the ‘marriage amendment.’ They have done so because they have yet to hear a convincing reason why such an amendment to our state constitution is needed.
2. The Golden Rule
We would not want another religion using the constitution to impose its views on everyone. Yet for many, that’s exactly what the bishops are doing. Our church teaches, however, that “equality of citizens before the law” should never be violated for religious reasons. As Catholics we want to live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
3. “Be Not Afraid”
In their support of the ‘marriage amendment,’ the bishops have provoked false fears. They warn, for instance, that if civil marriage rights are extended to same-sex couples, churches will be sued if they refuse to perform sacramental marriage for a gay couple. This is untrue. Even if the ‘marriage amendment’ is defeated in November, same-sex civil marriage would still be illegal in Minnesota. And if civil marriage rights were one day extended to same-sex couples, our nation’s separation of church and state would guarantee that churches would always have the freedom to choose who they marry.
Above: Steve and Cathie Wilson did a great job in overseeing the smooth running of the C4ME-MN booth throughout the duration of Pride. Plus they created the beautiful display they're pictured standing next to.
Above: As well as encouraging Catholics to vote 'no' on the freedom limiting 'marriage amendment,' we also gathered signatures for our 'Catholic Statement of Support for Marriage Equality.' We displayed a map of Minnesota divided into the state's dioceses, and listed those Catholics from across the state who have already signed the statement. We gathered close to 1,000 new signees at this year's Pride festival. To sign the statement online, click here.
Above: We also offered folks C4ME-MN buttons and bumper stickers with the message, "Another Catholic Voting No."
For more information about obtaining one of these buttons or bumper stickers, click here.
Above and below: Throughout the two days of Pride we had a fantastic team of volunteers. They tirelessly greeted visitors, answered questions about the 'marriage amendment,' and collected signatures for the 'Catholic Statement of Support for Marriage Equality.' Thank you to all our volunteers!
Above: C4ME-MN volunteers Cathie and Steve Wilson and Kelly Doss.
Above: Sean Simonson and his parents. Sean is the former Benilde-St. Margaret student whose 2010 article in his school's newspaper about being gay in a Catholic high school was censored. To read more about this incident, click here.
Above: Lisa and Brent Vanderlinden, who feature in C4ME-MN produced DVD Catholics for Marriage Equality.
Above: C4ME-MN executive coordinator Michael Bayly with Darlene and Tom White, who also feature in Catholics for Marriage Equality
Above: Preparing to march in Sunday's parade.
Above: C4ME-MN board members Jim Smith and Kathleen Olsen.
Above: The good folks of Dignity Twin Cities.
Above: C4ME-MN co-founder and former board member Paul Fleege.
Above and below: The rapturous reception we received from the thousands who lined Minneapolis' Hennepin Ave. was tremendously affirming.
Thank you again to all who helped make
Catholics for Marriage Equality MN's presence
at this year's Pride the energizing, inspiring
and successful event that it was!
Images: Michael Bayly.