Basilica Block Party caught in same-sex marriage debate


The Basilica of St. Mary, in Minneapolis, host to the annual summer music event “Basilica Block Party.”

MPR Photo/Tom Weber

When Minneapolis photographer Jason Wermager sent out a Facebook “invite” to 200 or so of his friends to “Say NO to the Basilica Block Party” his goal was simply to raise awareness. On the event description he writes:

This was created to take a stand and let organizations, businesses and other groups know that it is NOT OK to support those that do not support equality and want to change the MN State Constitution to ban gay marriage. To make a real change, we need to start taking action now. Do not wait until you vote in 2012.

The Minnesota Catholic Church has made it their number 1 priority to define marriage in the State Constitution between one man and one woman, in tern, banning gay marriage.

The Catholic Church has already spent millions of dollars in the production of Anti-Gay DVDs and lobbying the State Legislature to add this hateful amendment to the Minnesota Constitution.

Please do not attend the Basilica Block Party this year. Please do not contribute money to a Catholic Church fundraiser while they are spending millions of dollars to write discrimination into the MN constitution.

I also encourage you to contact the bands and stage sponsors. This is the time to get peoples attention, sponsors and businesses attention.

Cities 97 is the main co-sponsor of the event, contact them as well.

Since Wermager posted the invite to his virtual event, more than 3,500 people have signed up to “attend” – although in this case, “attending” is really about being anywhere other than the annual summer block party.

Wermager says he’s been amazed by his Facebook page’s popularity.

Because of the overwhelming support from the Facebook event and people of Minnesota this has become way more than I could have ever imaged. I am hoping this inspires others to share their voice and start dialogue with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. A lot of people have been sending communication to the bands, promoters and sponsors. Many folks have shared the contact information and I continue to encourage people to contact these bands and sponsors directly as well.

In recent days the facebook page (“Say NO to the Basilica Block Party“) has also become host to some very heated debate on the issue. But when asked if it worries him that his “awareness-raising” event has spun out of control, Wermager responds:

My only worry is that November 2012 election day comes and Minnesota did not share their voice. November 2012 will be the day Minnesotans cast their votes in regards to a Ban on Gay Marriage, there is a lot of work to do and awareness to get out there before that day.