Three perspectives on bridging the marriage opinion gap

Now that Gov. Mark Dayton has signed the same-sex marriage bill into law, we asked the participants on this week’s Roundtable for advice on how to bridge gaps between Minnesotans who support same-sex marriage and those who oppose it.

Jim Wallis, author of “On God’s Side,” thinks we are on the cusp of a nationwide change:

I think more and more people, particularly younger people,  are coming to believe in equal protection under the law.  And even if they are still not sure – like young Evangelicals – about the theological issues, there’s too many of their friends or families who are gay.  And they want equal [protection] under the law.

I also think that it is important that there is real religious liberty and freedom for a faith community to figure this out for themselves over time: their biblical wrestling, their theological debates. So there has to be respect for that conversation.

But what we’re talking about here is civil marriage. And so as long as faith communities are protected … I think there is going to be growing perception that [there is] equal protection under the law. That doesn’t mean that different views can’t be respected.

The Rev. Paul Slack, pastor of the New Creation Church and president of ISAIAH, a political advocacy group for people of faith, says the law doesn’t alter his religious beliefs:

This is a civil law. I’ve long come to the reality that America and government does not define my faith nor my religion and it is not the place that I look to to guide me in terms of what I believe about my faith and my religion. I don’t look to government for that, but I do look to my faith to tell me how to treat people whether I agree with them or not.

I can disagree with anybody at any time in any moment.  But my God still requires me to treat you with dignity and respect. And to respect your decisions and your opinion.

Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, of Temple Israel in Minneapolis, thinks Minnesotans from all backgrounds can find some common ground:

I think the place we can come together is talking about love. We can talk about “love makes a family.” We can come together under that.  It doesn’t matter who is speaking that. We can hear the story without politicizing that.



  • Lloyd Geillinger

    It is sad to see that so called people of God are so agreeable to “forced change”. Let me remind them that there will be a certain percentage of people in Minnesota for which there will be no “common ground”, never will. I am still trying to understand how a small percentage group of people swayed Minnesota politicians to go against the majority voices of the people in their districts. Could it be the $2M they spent? That’s it, no matter what you want to do all it takes is money, right or wrong. They can be bought every time. Away from the major cities is rural Minnesota, and rural Minnesota hasn’t changed it’s opinion one bit in this matter, there will be no open arms, no adjustment, no change of heart, so get used to that as well.

  • schriste

    Lloyd, since the people you say will never change their minds and never accept anyone different than them is nothing new or something we arent use to, I see no change in that view. However, now the civil law provides equal protection to those families, so you will need to get use to that.

  • mike

    Yes Lloyd it was the money that was spent that swayed the majority. An advertising campaign that was successful in convincing people that as a civil society we can disagree about religious beliefs without denying civil rights. No one has asked you to change your mind about your religious beliefs. I don’t want to be governed by your religious beliefs any more then you want to be governed by mine. That is why in your chosen religious community you are still free to deny that gay people are worthy of your acceptance. Just because you are in the minority in your way of thinking. Your right to practice your belief in your religious institution have more protection under the law then before this law was passed.