Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt viewed as a key financial and political force for passage of the marriage amendment

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Working aggressively behind the scenes, the 65-year-old Nienstedt has emerged as a key financial and political force for passage of the marriage amendment, which will be on the Nov. 6 ballot and is the most contentious issue in the state this election season. He has committed more than $650,000 in church money, stitched together a coalition of leaders from other faiths and exerted all his power within the church to press Minnesota’s million-plus Catholics to back him. “We wouldn’t have gotten very far without him,” said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for Minnesota for Marriage, the lead group pushing the amendment. “What the archbishop is doing in Minnesota is what the pope asked him to do. It’s hard to overstate his importance.” … Nienstedt strongly defended his stance in a written response to Star Tribune questions last week. He said he sees no problem enshrining a religious belief about marriage in the state Constitution. “Marriage defined as a union between one man and one woman is a reality that predates any government or religious denomination,” Nienstedt said. “Marriage is meant for children and children flourish best with a mother and a father.” When asked whether a loyal Catholic could vote against the amendment, Nienstedt said: “It would be difficult to comprehend how a person could not believe that marriage is anything but a union between one man and one woman. On this point, Catholic teaching is clear.”