The bishops of Minnesota may have barred their priests from speaking publicly against a proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage in this state, but that didn't stop a group of former priests from taking to the stage at the Lake Harriet bandshell yesterday to speak out.
"We encourage Minnesotans to base their vote on the principles of justice and love," read a statement passed out at the event and emailed to reporters afterwards. "The proposed amendment, in violation of those principals, would deprive an individual of his or her right to marry the person he or she loves."
The 80 ex-priests who signed the statement ranged from men who quit within three years of joining the priesthood to others who had served as long as 48 years. Most had served in the priesthood between 10 and 25 years, though.
In a second written statement, organizers criticized the church for trying to silence dissent within the church on the marriage amendment issue.
"That was a terrible thing, such an injustice to us to say you cannot disagree with me on this matter," said retired priest Tom Garvey, according to Minnesota Public Radio. "And it's just not true."
MPR also reports that the group has been trying to encourage other Catholics to reject bishops' instructions.
"There is not just one way for Catholics to vote in November," they wrote in a letter to the Star-Tribune.