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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 27, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 17
Lutheran bishop opposes Minnesota marriage amendment
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Lutheran bishop opposes Minnesota marriage amendment

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Lutheran bishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, has published a pastoral letter opposing that state's proposed constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages.

In a 2,000-word letter, Bishop Peter Rogness told Minnesota Lutherans, 'I do not support this amendment that prohibits the marriage of same-gender couples. I believe such a position is consistent with the work our church has done on these matters.'

The amendment will appear on the Minnesota ballot in November.

About one-third of Minnesota's population identifies as Lutheran, largely because of settlement by immigrants from Scandinavia. Rogness represents the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the largest of several Lutheran groups in the U.S.

Noting that 'it is now widely accepted that same-gender attraction is not a choice, it's an orientation,' Rogness goes on to say that 'marriage' between two same-gender partners only seeks to provide the same depth and richness in their relationships as good marriages do among heterosexual couples.

'If anything, more open support for same-gender, life-long committed relationship & enhances stability in our society by including the homosexual community in its affirmation.'

The ELCA voted to ordain Gay and Lesbian clergy in 2009, but they have stopped short of endorsing equal marriage rights for Gay and Lesbian couples.

In his letter, Rogness notes that while the ECLA as a whole supports the traditional one man-one woman view of marriage, some Lutheran congregations are taking a broader view.

'We embrace and affirm marriage as being between a man and a woman,' Rogness writes.

'Our recent [2009] social statement makes that clear: 'The historic Christian tradition and the Lutheran Confessions have recognized marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.'

'Yet this same statement, adopted in 2009, isn't so quick to close the door on the traditional understanding of the church in not supporting [same-sex] relationships. The statement acknowledged that healthy and faithful congregations are coming to different conclusions.'

Rogness also dismisses the charge that same-sex marriage somehow threatens family life and jeopardizes children.

'Allowing for the possibility of life-long, committed same-gender relationships poses no threat to faithful heterosexual marriage or healthy settings for our children,' he writes.

In a jab at anti-Gay groups who have poured money into the Minnesota amendment campaign, Rogness adds that 'our whole society would be well-served if the energy and money spent on this political fight were to be spent instead on support for marriage and the well-being of the children of this state.'

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