Church seeks donations to pay for ads to defeat same-sex marriage

Details from the Minnesota Star-Tribune:

Minnesota Roman Catholics will receive a letter this week from the state’s bishops, urging them to donate money for television ads asking voters to say yes to a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

For many of the more than 400,000 Catholic households expected to get the letter, it marks the first time they’ve been asked by church leadership to make a financial donation to Minnesota for Marriage, the chief group campaigning for passage of the marriage amendment Nov. 6.

The call for money comes in the wake of the release last week of two commercials by the main group opposing the amendment — one of which takes issue with the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage.

In trying to reach every Catholic household in Minnesota, the mailing is “unusual” compared to Catholics’ roles in marriage amendment campaigns in other states, said John Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron (Ohio), who studies politics and religion.

“I can’t think of anything as direct and as explicit,” Green said. “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it legally, but certainly I’m sure it’s very controversial. Catholic leaders have been involved in fundraising. I know of examples where they have reached out to parishioners, but I’ve never heard of anything quite this comprehensive.”

Besides asking Catholics to make contributions, bishops are encouraging them to vote yes on the amendment, according to a letter sent to priests and church administrators last week from Jason Adkins, executive director of Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in the state.

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