Met in assembly at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), on May 12 passed a resolution explicitly opposing the proposed “marriage amendment” to the Minnesota constitution that would preclude same-gender couples from seeking through legislation and other legal means the same rights and benefits granted to others. The vote was by show of cards and appeared to be larger than 70% against the amendment.
The Northwestern Minnesota Synod assembly’s action makes it the fourth synod of the six ELCA synods in Minnesota to have met in assembly and passed resolutions expressing opposition to amending the constitution of the State of Minnesota to state that marriage was solely between a man and a woman. Previously, the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, Northeastern Minnesota Synod and Minneapolis Area Synod assemblies have passed such a resolution. The remaining two synods in Minnesota will meet in the coming weeks.
The resolution does not bind the individual members of the synod to vote in any particular way in the November election. It is nonetheless an important sense of this synod’s reaction to the attempt to change the constitution to restrict rather than protect freedom of conscience.
The Rev. Anita Hill, Regional Director, Lutherans Concerned/North America, said of the vote on this resolution and the opposition to amending the constitution, “By a margin of more than 70%, the Northwestern Minnesota Synod assembly today voted to support equality and inclusivity in our state’s constitution. Voting against the proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment on marriage, Lutherans in Northwestern Minnesota stand on the side of same-gender couples and their families. During the debate, voting members often referred to the command of Jesus that we love one another, noting the Lutheran imperative to love and care for our neighbors.”