MN for Marriage now “regrets” Nazi language on partner website

A group working to defeat legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota has issued a statement saying it regrets statements posted on a website of a coalition member.

Minnesota for Marriage regrets that statements considered by many to be offensive appeared on the website of a separate organization, Minnesota Pastors for Marriage. Although Minnesota for Marriage is not responsible for the content of that website, nor the content on the websites of other supportive coalition members, we nevertheless regret any hurt those statements have caused.

The issue came to light yesterday when Minnesotans United for All Families, which is pushing to legalize same-sex marriage, criticized the group for linking same-sex marriage efforts to propaganda in Nazi Germany. The initial language was posted on the website Pastors for Marriage, which is working with Minnesota for Marriage to ban same-sex marriage. The website (which has been changed since the controversy surfaced on Thursday) included a message from Minnesota for Marriage Chair John Helmberger (who is also CEO of the Minnesota Family Council).

Minnesota for Marriage’s spokeswoman initially issued a statement saying the criticism was a desperate attempt to distract Minnesotans that children don’t need a mother and a father.

Minnesotans United for All Families held a news conference with faith leaders today to criticize MN for Marriage for the initial statement and the follow-up response.

The back-and-forth comes as both groups fiercely lobby the Legislature on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota. The House and Senate could vote on the bill at any time.

Update: The Minnesota Family Council also released a statement saying they are responsible for the content on the Minnesota Pastors for Marriage website. They said some of the documents were not properly reviewed and “regret any harm this has caused.” (Full statement below)

Here’s the full statement from Minnesota for Marriage:

Minnesota for Marriage regrets that statements considered by many to be offensive appeared on the website of a separate organization, Minnesota Pastors for Marriage. Although Minnesota for Marriage is not responsible for the content of that website, nor the content on the websites of other supportive coalition members, we nevertheless regret any hurt those statements have caused.

The aim of Minnesota for Marriage has always been to promote a civil and respectful debate about the nature of marriage. We will continue to focus on the real issues, including the peril to religious liberty and the rights of conscience that the redefinition of marriage poses for the majority of Minnesotans who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. We refuse, however, to be drawn into a tit-for-tat political charade that seeks to sensationalize the debate and obscure the real issues at stake.

Here’s the statement from the Minnesota Family Council:

Minneapolis – Minnesota Family Council is responsible for the content of the Minnesota Pastors for Marriage website. We regret that a sermon and other materials received from another organization and posted to the Minnesota Pastors for Marriage website were not properly reviewed. Some of the views reflected in those documents do not reflect those of Minnesota Family Council, and they have been removed from the website.

We further regret that the posting of these documents, and the unauthorized use of the Minnesota for Marriage logo in some of them, have caused difficulties for the Minnesota for Marriage staff, coalition, and board, who had no knowledge that these documents were being posted or are in any way responsible for their content. We regret any harm this has caused, and wish to clarify that Minnesota for Marriage should not be connected to the content of the documents in question.

Minnesota Pastors for Marriage is a coalition of pastors and groups that share one thing in common – the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman and that the Minnesota Legislature should not legalize same-sex marriage. Minnesota Pastors for Marriage is also dedicated to protecting the freedom to preach the teachings contained in the Bible regarding marriage.

“This attack by Minnesotans United on marriage has very little to do with an ill-advised quotation but rather the continued assault on the religious liberties of pastors to proclaim the full counsel of God about marriage in their pulpits,” said Pastor Jeff Evans of Minnesota Pastors for Marriage. “Pastors need not apologize about passages in the Bible that some find offensive. On the contrary, pastors answer to their heavenly Father as to whether they speak and teach His Word to a world that needs to hear His good news. As we celebrate Holy Week, we remember the fact that Jesus Himself was mocked, persecuted, and put on the cross in the public square for an “unpopular” message. In reality, His message, ministry, and sacrifice are the words of life that all need to hear,” he concluded.