Bishop John Nienstedt, the archbishop
of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, has defended the Catholic Church's
backing of an amendment that seeks to ban gay marriage in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Legislature last month
approved the constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a
heterosexual union, sending it to voters for their approval in 2012.
an op-ed published Thursday in the Catholic Spirit, Nienstedt
insisted there is nothing anti-gay about the amendment.
“Regrettably, the media and some
secular commentators have chosen to mischaracterize this measure as
anti-gay, mean-spirited and prejudicial,” he wrote. “This is not
the case or the intent behind the initiative.”
Nienstedt argued that the amendment is
needed to protect children: “Pastorally, children flourish best in
the context of having both a mother and a father. Every scientific
study confirms this reality.”
Minnesota Independent debunked Nienstedt's claim, noting
that a review of 81 studies on the issue came to the opposite
The researchers concluded that children
raised by same-gender parents are “statically indistinguishable
from kids raised by married moms and dads” on measures including
self-esteem, school performance and social adjustment.
Nienstedt also quoted Archbishop
Timothy Dolan of New York, who has compared gay marriage to polygamy
“If the definition of marriage is
continually being altered, could it not in the future be morphed
again to include multiple spouses or even family members?” Dolan
wrote in objecting to a proposal to legalize gay marriage in New
“His argumentation is hard to
refute,” Nienstedt said.