Monday, August 29, 2011

Marriage amendment awareness campaign launched just outside Minnesota’s State Fair grounds

Within sight of the main gate of the Minnesota State Fair, Michael Blissenbach offered literature about marriage to people on their way to and from The Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Blissenbach and other volunteers were the point persons in the launching of what is expected to be a 15-month effort to inform voters in Minnesota about the importance of supporting an amendment to the state constitution that would preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The amendment will be on the ballot in November 2012.

“A lot of people are taking the literature,” said Blissenbach, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hastings. “And even if they don’t they’re very respectful about it. They’ll say ‘No thanks’ or ‘We don’t agree.’”

Volunteers handing out literature were organized by the Minnesota for Marriage Coalition, which successfully asked the state legislature to put the amendment on the ballot. With its booth set up on Midway Parkway in front of Holy Childhood Church, the group that includes the Minnesota Family Council, the Minnesota Catholic Conference and the National Organization for Marriage began what Cathy Deeds said is “ultimately a huge get-out-the-vote effort.”

Deeds is outreach coordinator for the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Early support present

“The goal is to talk to as many Minnesotans as possible about marriage and the marriage amendment,” Deeds said, “and to sign up volunteers and supporters to preserve marriage for one man and one woman from being redefined by future legislatures and courts.”

Early polling shows that most Minnesotans support the historic and traditional definition of marriage, Deeds said. Thirty-one of 31 states have voted to define marriage this way, the coalition’s literature notes.

“Marriage means husband and wife in all societies and cultures throughout history,” she added. “It’s for the benefit of children, not something for the rights of individuals.”

As important as marriage is to Catholics, Deeds said one doesn’t need to be a religious person to realize the importance of marriage to the common good.

Volunteer Andy Servi, from St. John the Baptist in New Brighton, pointed to the “wisdom of the ages” that he felt should be convincing. “Cultures throughout history found that marriage of one man and one woman benefitted society.” Servi was joined in staffing the coalition booth by his wife, Richel and their 20-month-old daughter, Riana.

Taken for granted

Gene and Gloria Hippe, Wilmar residents and members of St. Mary parish there, stopped at the booth Aug. 26.

“I don’t want to see marriage breakdown any more than it already is,” Gloria Hippe explained.

Gene Hippe added, “It comes down to a child needs a mom and a dad. It’s something so basic that we haven’t thought about it until it’s threatened.”

Mailers, TV ads, print ads and more can be expected as future elements of the awareness campaign, said Chris Plante of the National Organization for Marriage who is working for the coalition.

“The coalition’s job is helping Mrs. Jones talk to Mrs. Smith about why marriage is for one man and one woman,” he said. Catholic Spirit

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