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Minnesota ELCA synods vote to oppose marriage amendment

The Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became the fourth Minnesota synod in assembly to vote to oppose the proposed ballot amendment that would change Minnesota’s constitution to define marrage as a commitment between one man and one woman. Previously, the Minneapolis Area Synod, the Northeastern Minnesota Synod, and the Southeastern Minnesota Synod have taken similar stances.

“By a margin of over 70 percent, the Northwestern Minnesota Synod in assembly voted to support equality and inclusivity in our state’s constitution,” the Rev. Anita Hill told Metro Lutheran. Hill is regional director of Lutherans Concerned/North America. “Voting against the proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment on marriage, Lutherans in northwest Minnesota stand on the side of same-gender couples and their families,” she added.

The Rev. Dan Heath, Zion Lutheran Church, Blackduck, Minnesota, said, “The discussion was civil, the resolution was passed, and the assembly moved on.”

Before the Northeastern Minnesota Synod assembly, Bishop Thomas Aitken explained his position: “As I see it, a vote opposing the marriage amendment is not the same as taking a ‘side’ on whether you believe marriage is only for a man and a woman. You may believe that marraige should be between a man and a woman, and still vote against [it] because it cuts off one avenue of ministry we’ve agreed as a church to keep open.”

At press time, the St. Paul Area Synod is voting on a similar resolution. The Southwestern Minnesota Synod will vote on the amendment at its assembly at Gustavus Adolphus College June 8-9.

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