Ex-priests against ban on gay marriage reach 100-signatures goal

Bob Minton
MinnPost photo by Corey AndersonBob Minton

A group of former priests who have gone on record opposing the effort to insert a ban on same-sex marriage into Minnesota’s Constitution has met its initial goal of gathering 100 signatures.

Just what they’re going to do with the list, or the statement the signatories endorsed, has yet to be determined, according to Bob Minton, who served at Minneapolis’ St. Stephen’s in the 1960s, and whose brainchild the effort is.

He does know one thing they’re not going to do: Continue to try to track down more former priests to add to the list. If more want to sign, great. But the active part of the quest is over.  

No directory, no association

You might never have thought of it, but finding priests who retired, were laicized or just plain quit is hard work. There’s no directory, no alumni association and, given that we’re talking about men who left their positions 30 years ago and men who left last month, no single social network through which to spread work.

Minton and his co-organizers came up with the first 80 signatories fairly easily, and in May released a list to the public. Since then, it’s been slow slogging.

Besides, quips Minton, having watched the roster tip from 99 to 100 somehow makes 101 seem, well, not so different from 100.  

Archbishop’s order

The former priests were moved to speak up in part because Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt has ordered priests and deacons in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to keep to themselves any reservations about the effort to ban gay marriage or the church’s funding of the campaign.

“Free to express our opinions openly, we call on all people of good will to exercise their fundamental right to follow their consciences and to resist discrimination against any of God’s children,” the ex-priests’ statement reads.

For Minton, the last few names on the list are particularly gratifying. Several were reluctant to sign the statement early on but changed their minds when they saw how much company they had.

Finally, there is one sad piece of news to report. One of the original signatories, James E. Smith, died earlier in the month.

Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/25/2012 - 08:54 am.

    Oh, well, then

    That settles it.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 07/26/2012 - 08:14 am.

      The Catholic church

      Has far greater problems to deal with than marriage rules and everyone but the hierarchy knows it. That settles it.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/25/2012 - 09:25 am.

    Sad

    “Several were reluctant to sign the statement early on but changed their minds when they saw how much company they had.”

    So, lacking conviction, these fellows needed the comfort of the mob. I think they made the right decision in leaving the priesthood. Best of luck to them.

  3. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 07/25/2012 - 11:10 am.

    Thanks to all who stepped forward in the name of love.

    • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/25/2012 - 05:15 pm.

      Not so fast.

      If, Miss Bloom, you agree with Minnesota United’s admonition to “don’t limit the freedom to marry”, do assert the limitations on marriages in Minnesota Statutes 517.02 and 517.03 must be repealed?

      • Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 07/26/2012 - 09:19 am.

        517.02 and 517.03

        Mr Krasnoff, Like the wise people at Minnesotans United I respect the provisions of Minnesota Law that establish that only adults can enter binding contracts. Similarly I support the alternate pathways provided to marriage for those in state custody due to developmental delays.

        As a geneticist I understand the state’s interest in limiting marriages for those who are closely related in order to minimize the impacts of consanguinity. As a clinician I can tell you that limiting marriage is not an absolute way to limit reproduction among consanguineous couples.

        I trust that you understand, like the fine people at Minnesota United for ALL Families that rejection of this mean-spirited amendment will not change any Minnesota laws. Passage of the amendment will limit simply further discussion of marriage in Minnesota by citizens and our duly elected representatives.

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/26/2012 - 10:59 pm.

          517.02 and 517.03

          Miss Bloom, the slogan of Minnesota United is a comprehensive statement of their beliefs. It clearly states they don’t want limits on the “freedom to marry”. It is, therefore, the belief of Mr. Carlbom’s group to declare MN Stat. 517.02 and 517.03 void since these two sections obviously “limit the freedom to marry”.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/27/2012 - 09:38 pm.

            And I want a pink pony . . . . .

            but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get one.

            Your pronouncements about what you have determined to be “the belief of Mr. Carlbom’s group” are meaningless. Besides the breathtaking presumptuousness of declaring that you know what is in another’s mind, there is also the fact that even if you were right, MN Stat. 517.02 and 517.03 are not being voted on in November. The amendment is, and ONLY the amendment is.

            MN Stat. 517.02 and 517.03 are laws – already on the books – and whether or not the marriage amendment passes does not change that fact.

            Of course you know this, and you’re just trying to muddy the waters by adding additional layers to the question which do not exist. But no matter how many times anyone tells you that it’s not fair to keep trying to move the goalposts in the middle of the game, you just keep trying to do it anyway.

            • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/30/2012 - 08:41 am.

              Again, in plain English

              – The slogan of Minnesota United is a comprehensive statement of their beliefs.

              – It clearly states they don’t want limits on the “freedom to marry”

              – Minnesota Statutes 517.02 and 517.03 limits the freedom to marry.

              – Therefore, the belief of Minnesota United for all families is to declare MN Stat. 517.02 and 517.03 void since these two sections obviously “limit the freedom to marry”.

              • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/30/2012 - 10:53 pm.

                I’m beginning to think . . . .

                that you don’t understand what is included in and being voted on in the proposed Amendment which will be on November’s ballot.

                Minnesota Statutes 517.02 and 517.03 are NOT being voted on in November.

                Please acknowledge that you understand that.

                Because it’s really puzzling to have you keep arguing as if they are being voted on when they are not.

                Again – just in case anyone else reading this is similarly puzzled – Minnesota Statutes 517.02 and 517.03 are NOT being voted on in November’s election, and no matter how the amendment vote turns out, Minnesota Statutes 517.02 and 517.03 will still have the force of law in Minnesota.

  4. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/25/2012 - 12:20 pm.

    It is fitting to consider

    why anyone would want to exclude people like the late Sally Ride and her partner from enjoying the same rights as a heterosexual married couple.

    Thanks to these former priests for speaking out against this sad proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/25/2012 - 01:15 pm.

      With apologies to intelligent readers….

      I’ll point out the painfully obvious.

      Sally Ride and her partner were always guaranteed the same rights as a heterosexual married couple, they chose not to be part of a heterosexual partnership.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/25/2012 - 04:33 pm.

        Ignoring the painfullyn obvious (again)

        Sally Ride and her partner were in love with each OTHER. Why would either of them want to marry anyone else (regardless of gender)?

  5. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/25/2012 - 09:49 pm.

    False equivalency

    That Ms. Ride had the same rights as any heterosexual couple because she could have married a male partner is simply not true.

    Such logic was used to justify the miscegenation laws. A black person had the same rights to marry another – as long as that person was black. Marrying a white person was not allowed. Separate but equal, and all that.

    It is instructive to read the statement made by Mildred Loving, the woman who helped to bring down the unconstitutional miscegenation laws:

    “Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

    I am not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

    And the Defense of Marriage Act will eventually be struck down as unconstitutional. It’s only a matter of time.

    Federal appeals court in Boston rules Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional
    link: http://bo.st/Jwn9iM

  6. Submitted by Dennis Malone on 07/26/2012 - 09:34 am.

    Ex-priests

    The fact that the signers are ex-priests is very comforting. Catholic teaching is clear on the subject of homosexuality as is Scripture; God bless Archbishop John Nienstedt for upholding the teachings of Christ.

  7. Submitted by Chuck Leveroos on 07/29/2012 - 02:50 pm.

    retired priests are former priests?

    A priest that has retired is still a priest.

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