Father Bob Pierson, an openly gay priest in the monastic community at St. John's University in Collegeville, last month told Catholics that it is okay to vote against a proposed gay marriage ban in Minnesota.

At an event in Edina, Pierson told roughly 200 Catholics that the amendment “violates an important principle in Catholic teaching, and that as Catholics, we can vote no.”

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in #2358, gays and lesbians 'must be accepted with respect, compassion , and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.'”

“It was in November 2005 that I was offended to learn the Vatican had released a document that stated that gay men cannot be priests because they are 'seriously obstructed from properly relating to men and women,'” Pierson said. “I couldn't believe what I was reading. I knew that I was gay when I was ordained. Did that mean that my 21 years of ministry was a mistake? My faith suggests that I could not in good conscience continue to remain silent, and I cannot remain silent today. I spoke up then, and I am speaking up now to say that I believe this amendment violates an important principle of Catholic teaching, and that as Catholics, we can vote no.”

In October, John C. Nienstedt, the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, ordered priests to either support the amendment or remain silent.

A video of Pierson's speech has received more than 28,000 views on YouTube. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)