. . . [With regard to the 'marriage amendment'] Minnesota’s Catholic community was divided by robust lay dissent from the official position of the Archdiocese. Catholic leaders, starting with Archbishop Nienstadt, led an energetic (some said heavy handed) effort to approve the amendment. They invested large sums of money. They instructed priests and parochial school teachers about how they in turn should instruct parishioners and students. Several faculty of the Catholic University of St. Thomas published opinion pieces asserting Catholic natural law theology in defense of “traditional marriage.” The archbishop forbade priests from expressing dissent over this basic position.
But many lay Catholics opposed the amendment. Catholics for Marriage Equality MN (C4ME-MN) coordinated efforts to articulate and publish Catholic reasons to support marriage equality. Yard signs boasting “Another Catholic Voting No” were a common sight. Though no exit polls that I know of measured Catholic voting patterns on the amendment, national polls suggest that up to 70 percent of Catholic laity support marriage equality. So the story of the Catholic community in Minnesota’s marriage conversation was not that “the Church” supported the amendment. The story was that official Catholicism supported the amendment, while large numbers of lay Catholics (and some dissident priests) did not. Faith-based concern for justice led many to oppose what they saw as the injustice of the amendment. . . .
– David Booth
November 26, 2012