Effects of redefining marriage will be felt for years, Minnesota Catholic Conference says

Angela Muttonen of St. Peter in Forest Lake prays the rosary at the State Capitol May 9 with her 5-year-old daughter Bridget. (Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit)

Angela Muttonen of St. Peter in Forest Lake prays the rosary at the State Capitol May 9 with her 5-year-old daughter Bridget during a prayer vigil in support of traditional marriage. (Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit)

Barbara Herzog, a member of St. Peter in Forest Lake, prays the rosary with a large group gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol during a prayerful demonstration May 9 against a bill to change the definition of marriage. (Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit)

Barbara Herzog, a member of St. Peter in Forest Lake, prays the rosary with a large group gathered at the State Capitol during a prayerful demonstration May 9 against a bill to change the definition of marriage. (Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit)

The “full social and legal effects” of redefining marriage “will begin to manifest themselves in the years ahead,” the Minnesota Catholic Conference said in a statement expressing disappointment following the state Senate’s passage May 13 of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

The Senate vote was 37-30 and came less than a week after the House passed the measure 75-59. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill into law May 14, making Minnesota the 121h state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. The law takes effect Aug. 1.

Earlier this month, Rhode Island and Delaware became the 10th and 11th states, respectively, to legalize same-sex marriage

“The Church, for its part, will continue to work to rebuild a healthy culture of marriage and family life, as well as defend the rights of Minnesotans to live out their faith in everyday life and speak the truth in love,” the MCC said.

Although some accommodations for clergy and religious organizations were included in the bill, its religious liberty protections don’t go far enough, according to the MCC, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota.

The accommodations “fail to protect the people in the pew — individuals, non-religious non-profits, and small business owners who maintain the time-honored belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman,” the MCC said in statement following the House vote. “As legal experts on both sides of this debate have stated, the failure to accommodate the deeply held beliefs of a majority of Minnesotans will result in numerous conflicts that will have to be adjudicated by our courts.”

Lizz Paulson talks to a supporter of same-sex marriage while holding a sign protesting the bill to change the definition of marriage. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

Lizz Paulson talks to a supporter of same-sex marriage while holding a sign protesting the bill to change the definition of marriage. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

There are “many of us Americans, including many Minnesotans, who stand for the natural and true meaning of marriage,” Archbishop Salvatore  Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said in a statement released  May 14. “They know that men and women are important; their complementary difference matters, their union matters, and it matters to kids. Mothers and fathers are simply irreplaceable.”

Archbishop Cordileone called it “the height of irony” that the final vote on the redefinition of marriage and the governor’s signature on the bill occurred just “after we celebrated the unique gifts of mothers and women on Mother’s Day.”

In November, Minnesota voters rejected a ballot measure to amend the state constitution to define marriage as only a union between a man and woman, but polls show Minnesotans remained divided over legalizing such unions. According to Minnesota Public Radio, a recent survey showed a majority are against same-sex marriage.

The measure changes the definition of marriage from “between a man and a woman” to “a civil contract between two persons.”

Prayerful presence

As members of the House prepared for the vote May 9, supporters of traditional marriage gathered at the State Capitol to pray and make their views known to legislators.

Many carried signs stating “Vote No” and “Don’t Erase Moms and Dads.” They sang and prayed the rosary. A few spoke with supporters of same-sex marriage, who were walking through the hallways of the Capitol.

Angela Muttonen of St. Peter in Forest Lake said she came to the Capitol “because the prayers are needed.”

“I think all of the members of the House of Representatives, especially those from the rural areas that are members of the DFL party, are under tremendous pressure and I think they’re feeling it,” she said. “I came here in the flesh so that if any of them can see us, they would know that we’re here for them . . . and we’re praying for them.”

Muttonen, who prayed the rosary with her daughters, Bridget, 5, and Roxanne, 3, in a hallway at the Capitol, said her main concern if marriage is legalized for same-sex partners is “for discrimination for those who believe in natural law.”

“We have seen as a society — and my family has experienced in particular — a lot of hatred and animosity toward [traditional marriage supporters],” she said. “It’s not about not loving our brothers and sisters who have struggles with same-sex attraction. It’s about supporting them and holding them up to what is true and right.”

Paul Sirba, a member of St. Agnes in St. Paul and the nephew of Bishop Paul Sirba of Duluth, said he came to the gathering because it was “one last chance to voice an opinion and stand up for the truth” before the House and Senate voted.

This story contains information from Catholic News Service.

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