The lead organization seeking to promote the passage of a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman is preparing to launch two television ads that will run during the final weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 elections.
"We are certain our ads will help Minnesotans understand the importance of preserving marriage in our constitution," said John Helmberger, chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, in a written statement.
"Our ads ask an important question: 'Who should decide the definition marriage.' Like most Minnesotans, we think it should be the people, not judges or politicians. In fact, right now there is a court case pending in Hennepin County through which same-sex couples are asking judges to redefine marriage. Powerful legislators want to do the same thing. If they succeed, voters will have lost their say," he said.
Minnesota is one of four battleground states where the issue of same-sex marriage is on the ballot in November in some form. Others include Maryland, Maine and Washington. Voters in North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and woman in May of this year despite objections from President Obama.
Contrary to some ads that have taken a more aggressive approach, the Minnesota for Marriage ads adopt a more low-key strategy with host Kalley Yanta in one ad saying "everyone has a right to love who they choose, but nobody has a right to redefine marriage." The focus on that one particular ad is that only voters – not politicians – should have the final say on the definition of marriage.
"Marriage is more than a commitment between two loving people," says another ad. "It was made by God, for the creation and care of the next generation."
As of mid-September, Minnesota for Marriage reported slightly less than $500,000 in their coffers but spent $175,000 on their most recent ad buy. And with only 38 days until Election Day, the group is still aggressively fundraising. Last week, the state's Catholic diocese sent a letter to over 400,000 households asking for donations so even more ad time could be purchased.
However, Minnesotans United, the lead group hoping to defeat the amendment has raised millions of dollars and already has $1 million in ad time that was purchased earlier this year. The group released a statement responding to the pro-family group's media purchase.
"The proposed constitutional amendment would limit the freedom to marry for some Minnesotans just because of who they are – it permanently singles out and excludes gay and lesbian couples from the love, commitment and responsibility that marriage brings," said Campaign Manager Richard Carlbom. "This amendment mixes religion and politics in our constitution. The best thing to do is to take government out of this debate. In fact, passing this amendment would permanently end the conversation for the next generation of Minnesotans."
But Chuck Darrell of Minnesota for Marriage claims same-sex marriage advocates are simply trying to keep the issue away from the voters by allowing only elected officials and the courts to decide the issue.
"MUFAF saying that we should keep politics out of the debate is preposterous," Darrell told The Christian Post. "The people need to know that a half dozen bills have been introduced to legalize same-sex marriage in the Minnesota legislature and there is a lawsuit in Hennepin County District court to force same-sex marriage on Minnesotans without a vote of the people."
A recent Minnesota Star Tribune poll of 800 likely voters taken in mid-September found the issue to be close with 49 percent of voters in support of the amendment, 47 percent opposed and 4 percent undecided.
In an opinion piece on Monday in The Christian Post penned by Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Commission, Land made a case for states giving platonic couples and even homosexual couples certain rights to be granted by state legislatures but that the definition of marriage always remain between one man and one woman.
Helmberger and others promoting the passage of Minnesota's constitutional amendment say that traditional marriage has served society well for centuries and should not be changed to satisfy the desires of a small percentage of a state or nation.
"Our ads remind Minnesotans that marriage is the building block of society. It stands to reason, then, that all Minnesotans should have their say in what marriage should continue to be," said Helmberger. "Voting YES keeps voters involved in the conversation about marriage so that judges and politicians don't make that decision for us – without our permission."