MINNEAPOLIS, MN, September 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Archbishop John Nienstedt of the diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis stood on the steps of his State Capitol Tuesday and issued a call to all his fellow Minnesotans – Catholics and non-Catholics alike - to vote in favor of an amendment that would preserve the true definition of marriage.

“What we so rarely hear on the discussion on the marriage amendment is that it is meant to be a positive affirmation of both the beauty as well as the importance of this fundamental union for society,” said Nienstedt, “and even more so for the children who are born of that relationship, that is to say the next generation to come.”

“I ask all Minnesotans - all Minnesotans - to join us in voting yes on November 6th.”

The archbishop was joined by about 40 Minnesotan clergy from a variety of denominations. 

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The main group opposed to the marriage amendment has been at pains to convince believers that supporting gay ‘marriage’ jibes with their faith. Just this week Minnesotans United for All Families launched an ad, part of a multi-million dollar campaign, featuring a Republican Catholic couple, John and Kim Canny, in which the couple asks Minnesotans to vote no on the amendment. 

But the efforts to recruit Catholics and Christians to the cause have been stymied by the consistently clear voice of the Catholic leadership in the state.

Beginning in 2011, Archbishop Nienstedt put together educational seminars across the state on the sacrament of marriage and the importance of protecting the institution.  Last year he arranged teams of priests with married couples to visit Catholic high schools to educate on that same topic.

In a talk delivered at his archdiocesan Clergy Study Day in October of last year, Archbishop Nienstedt directed his diocesan priests to not make any public statements of contradiction to the Church’s teaching on the defense of marriage, in particular against the archdiocesan efforts in support of the state constitutional amendment. 

To his priests, he said, “The gravity of this struggle, and the radical consequences of inaction propels me to place a solemn charge upon you all — on your ordination day, you made a promise to promote and defend all that the Church teaches. I call upon that promise in this effort to defend marriage. There ought not be open dissension on this issue.”

In that same speech, the archbishop described the importance of efforts to defend marriage: “The end game of those who oppose the marriage amendment that we support is not just to secure certain benefits for a particular minority, but, I believe, to eliminate the need for marriage altogether.

“This can only lead to continued destabilizing the family unit itself,” he said, adding, “The stakes could not be higher.”

About the nature of his campaign in support of the Minnesota marriage amendment, the archbishop said, “I want the focus here to be a positive one — let’s celebrate the reality of what God designed from the beginning as affirmed in the first chapter of Genesis and that Jesus reaffirmed in the 19th chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel.”