Weather Forecast


Willmar, Minn., area residents discuss ways to stop gay marriage amendment

Doug Wilkowske hosts a meeting Tuesday at his home near Willmar as a part of Faith Action Week. People all over Minnesota are hosting similar meetings to learn how to spark conversations about why people should vote against the proposed marriage amendment to the state constitution. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- About 20 area residents met Tuesday to learn how they could try to defeat the proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Those who gathered at Doug Wilkowske's home north of Willmar discussed why they oppose the amendment, which will be on the ballot in November's election, and how to talk to people about the issue.

Similar meetings are happening throughout the state this week as part of Faith Action Week.

The events for people of faith who disagree with the amendment are being coordinated by Minnesotans United for All Families, the campaign working to defeat the amendment that would ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Members of the group gathered at Wilkowske's home were told Tuesday that they can help others who oppose the amendment realize they are not alone, even though they may feel isolated in that opinion.

While many similar meetings are being held at churches of various denominations, according to a schedule provided by Minnesotans United, gatherings for Catholic parishes are being held in private homes.

The meeting at Wilkowske's home was listed as St. Mary's Catholic Parish Gathering.

Wilkowske explained that the opinions he expressed were his and not that of any church. He added that he had invited more non-Catholics than Catholics.

"My list is from people who liked my comments on Facebook," he explained.

When asked to introduce themselves and explain why they attended the meeting, many people said they had friends and relatives who are gay or lesbian.

Some of Wilkowske's guests recalled divisions in their families resulting from a member declaring his or her homosexuality.

Others spoke of same-sex couples they knew who had been together as long or longer than they themselves had been married.

Some people in the state should not have the right to tell others how they should live was a sentiment expressed several times

Amending the state Constitution over such an issue also bothered people at the gathering. It's not a constitutional issue, one person said.

Same sex marriage is already illegal in the state; putting it in the Constitution would make it even harder to change, another added.

"Justice is not being served," Wilkowske said. "God is love. This is just the wrong thing to do."

Gary Miller

Born and attended public schools in Willmar, Minn. Served 20 years in U.S. Navy as a photojournalist. Worked at West Central Tribune since retiring from the Navy in 1994.

(320) 214-4344