Faith Leaders Training for Religious Rumble in Minnesota

BY Lucas Grindley

August 30 2011 5:59 PM ET

The battle over same-sex marriage is so often fought between people of faith, and neither side of an upcoming ballot measure in Minnesota is shying away from that reality.

Minnesotans will have to decide in 2012 whether they want to ban same-sex marriage in their state. Minnesotans United for All Families is holding training sessions for progressive people of faith on how to fight the ban.

The group invites people to "unite with Minnesota's spiritual and religious communities in a campaign kickoff training to enhance voices of faith for marriage equality." But they'll have a significant battle ahead.

The Minnesota Family Council is doing its part to educate faith leaders who back the ban on gay marriage. The group's president touted its "Minnesota Worldview Leadership Project" in an email seeking help from "thousands of other Minnesotans who believe in God's design for marriage."

"For our campaign to be successful, however, we need people of faith to rise up, speak, and participate in the campaign," wrote president John Helmberger, according to the Minnesota Independent. "We will be conducting a massive voter education effort — speaking one-on-one with every Minnesota resident about the amendment."

Although Minnesota is dealing with turning back a ban, religious groups also play heavily in passage of marriage equality. Even in New York, which legalized same-sex marriage through a vote in the legislature, it only became possible to pass after some concessions were made to religious organizations that sought exemptions. Similar exemptions have preceded votes in other states.

And in Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage was approved by a vote of its lawmakers, progressive faith leaders organized a coalition that is credited with successfully contradicting messages from conservative religious voices there.











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