Pastor from Woodbury Shares Marriage Amendment Opposition With Congregation

Edwin DuBose, of Golden Valley's Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church, says Minnesota's marriage amendment would only "hurt a select group of people."

On Sunday, Oct. 28, Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church Pastor Edwin DuBose took a risk.

Out of thousands of sermons, DuBose for the first time shared how he will vote on a particular issue. DuBose told his congregation that he's voting “no” the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“Before I preached my first sermon, the head pastor said, ‘Ed it's a little bit like walking on thin ice,’” DuBose told church-goers. "He was right. Over time I got comfortable and found the safer spot. But today I'm going to go out again where the ice is thin."

For DuBose, who lives in Woodbury, walking on thin ice meant talking for 15 minutes about why he feels it’s so important to vote, and to vote “no” on this particular issue.

On Nov. 6, Minnesotans will decide if marriage should be solely between a man and a woman. DuBose hopes that voters will think about the potential harm the amendment could do to a select group of people.

“If you're voting ‘yes,’ I respect that. I can understand that,” DuBose said. “And I pray that you can respect those who disagree.”

       Related: Marriage Amendment Discussion Comes to Woodbury

In 2002, Spirit of Hope made a decision to become a reconciling congregation. This means that the church openly and explicitly welcomes people of all sexual orientations.

“For over 30 years I've stood at the pulpit and said the same thing every time an election has come: It is your Christian responsibility to make an educated vote, so vote.” DuBose said. “But today I've been challenged by one of our young people to say more.”

Dubose told the congregation that passing an amendment that limits marriage will not protect marriage, and it won’t turn back time.

“The reason I'm voting ‘no’ is because I agree with those who are voting ‘yes’ on one main point: Marriage is important,” DuBose said. “Marriage is big. It’s not something to be taken lightly. This amendment will not make marriage stronger. It will hurt a select group of people.”

At the end of the church service, DuBose provided attendees with a three-page article that he wrote explaining at length his reasoning for voting “no.”

“I respect your choices and I understand if you disagree. If that’s where you are, this congregation respects you,” DuBose said. “Whatever you do, take your soul with you to the polls.”


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garret November 01, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Simon, It has nothing to do with the Tax ramifications for polygamists to marry. In 1890 it was outlawed because it was deemed "unnatural." The LDS went on abolish it for the rule of the land was more important than their tradition. Several times it has been revisited in the US and Canada. Canada last year revisited the topic on grounds or religious freedom. Barna estimates 80-130,000 polygamist families in North America. That number is increasing as Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world with sects that practice polygamy. Let me be clear, I am NOT a supporter of polygamy. However, I feel this marriage amendment issue is similar. The freedom to love. Tell me why Polygamy is wrong if same sex marriage is ok.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Garret, yes, when the law was enacted it was because it was deemed unnatural. At that time, they also outlawed women wearing the color red on Sunday in Minnesota. Illinois made a law that forbade women over 200lbs. from wearing shorts while riding a horse. There were all kinds of crazy local, state, and federal laws enacted that had to do with morals. Most of those "moral" laws are no longer enforced. Polygamy laws remain illegal now not because its immoral, but because of the tax issues that would arise with its legalization, mainly estate taxes, inheiritance rights of those left behind, and the potential for tax evasion. ( like stocking up on wives for additional taxbreaks, multiple people claiming the same dependant, etc.) If not for these tax issues, gov't would probably butt out.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 04:11 AM
As far as whether polygamy is wrong, the simple answer is its not, assuming all parties are consenting adults. However, the practice of polygamy worldwide quite often involves the sale of children into "arranged marriages". That is the reason for most of the opposition.
Frederick Hess November 01, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Garret and Simon- Thanks guys for the lively discussion. My earlier point to Garret was marriage eligibility should be left to the legislature to determine. It does not belong in the constitution. You both just proved that defining marriage is about conversation and relationships of between consenting adults. I am not taking sides on all the other marriage possibilities. But as gay man wanting to protect my family I will stand up and voice my opposition to the amendment.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Frank, though ideologically we are on the same side of this issue, I do not believe that marriage eligibility should be left to the legislature to determine. This issue is about religious intolerance and a majority group trying to limit the rights of a minority group based on bias. The role of our government and our constitution is not supposed to be about limiting the rights of the few to satisfy the opinions of the majority. Even if this measure passes, which is certainly a possibility, this legislation goes against what this country is supposed to stand for and will probably be reversed in the MN Supreme Court if they do their job.
Joyce November 01, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Garret, civil marriage is a contract between two consenting adults who are not already close relatives (marriage creates a close family relationship where one did not already exist, hence allowing same sex marriage will NOT result in incest); allowing same sex couples to enter into the very same contract that is now open only to heterosexual couples will not, in any way, change the nature of that contract, it will not lead to polygamy (a completely different issue, which would have to be argued on its own merits) nor would it lead to bestiality or underage marriages , since neither children nor pets can enter into legal contracts. Nothing in the current marriage laws would have to change in any significant way to allow same sex couples to marry; legalizing polygamy would require an entire rewrite of current marriage laws because of the complexities of determining things like inheritance, power of attorney, child custody and so on.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Thomas, you seem to be blurring the line between marriage as a sacred act in a church versus marriage as a legal act as far as government should be concerned. When you get married in front of a judge, you are entering into a legal contract, one that has benefits to both parties concerning taxes, inheiritance, etc. In a church marriage, participants are vowing to remain a family unit until they day they die. This pledge is a public promise to their god and the community, and is considered a holy contract with their god. Unfortunately, most people nowadays renege on this oath. Its certainly taken some of the fire out of that particular sacrament. This current legislation has nothing to do with solemn oaths to a deity. It really has nothing to do with love. The government should have no role in either of those things. This legislation is about a majority trying to enforce a morality on others that it does not even observe itself.
garret November 01, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Simon, Likewise you are blurring the line between a Centuries old covenant between 1 man and 1 woman and their God, and redefining this Holy union as an all inclusive state of contract. They are totally different, therefor, these unions should be called and defined as something other than marriage. Call it a civil union with all the tax benefits and rights a marriage has. I want to protect what Marriage has meant for over 2500 years. A same sex couple-ship is different than a heterosexual relationship... why are we afraid to say that it is different? That doesn't make it wrong in itself to be different. These two relationship lifestyles have similar in the way all humans relate to each other but intimately and culturally differ greatly and a recognized union that covers both parties is unfair to both sides. I do not see a way to mitigate this issue by accepting that a same sex relationship is the same as a heterosexual one. And Yes, the faith communities have failed at what they deem or hope to be a sacred union, but there is a large constituent population that does hold to the commitment of marriage.
garret November 01, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Thank you Thomas, I am not at all intimidated by the opposition. I'm not offended and have hosted civil political discourse meetings as I have many friends on both sides. I will indeed look at your blog.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Garret, why do you believe it is our government's role to be involved in protecting "a 2500 year old holy covenant between 1 man, 1 woman, and God?" Isn't that exactly what the seperation of church and state is supposed to address? Additionally, I don't think anyone would really have opposition to just labelling it a "civil union" in the eyes of government, as long as the government refers to ALL legal marriages as "civil unions." Why would the government need to differetiate a difference? To do so would be the very definition of sexual discrimination. As long as we are on this topic, are there any other ancient, holy rites our government needs to "protect" or is this really just an excuse to enforce your ancient morals on everyone?
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Just so you understand the historical side of this civil rights issue you are arguing for, yours is the side that tried to deny civil rights for women. Yours is the side that tried to deny civil rights for black people. Yours is the side that is currently trying to deny civil rights for homosexuals. The far right has always energized its voting base by stirring up these issues around election time. You might win this battle, but you won't win the war. And in 20 years when we talk about the discrimination that used to exist, you will be the ones who claim you were on the side of equality all along. Too bad nowadays there is such an easy to follow electronic trail of online posts so it won't be so easy to hide your bias after its no longer shared by a majority.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Thomas, judging by your disconnected sentence structure and inability to translate seperate points, its no surprise you don't understand the logic. The 200lb woman example was just a random example of the many old fashioned laws still on the books that were enacted at a time when hate and discrimination were used as a basis for creating laws, and are considered ridiculous now. The fact you can't see a correlation between this current civil rights issue for homosexual rights and previous civil rights oppressions in this country just solidifies the evidence of your close-minded bias.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Thomas, your "little Simon" comment shows how little your potential is for clever insult. My drawing of comparison between old fashioned moral laws is not confusion on my part, though it seemed to confuse you. The one point I do tip my cap to you for is your recognition that you are certainly overmatched in your ability to argue intelligently.
Frederick Hess November 01, 2012 at 10:46 PM
My take away from this back and forth banter is that the government should get out of the marriage business. Let the churches, synagogues, mosques, temples or any other religion or spiritual groupings perform whatever ritualistic ceremonies that goes with their beliefs. They can marry those that qualify to do so under their belief structure. Then the government can issue civil union licenses that gives folks legal structure and protection. It would require replacing a few words here and there in the current statutes. Being united in a religious ceremony could be totally independent of the civil union granted by the state. Some people might choose to do both. The congregation I belong to no longer performs marriages in a civil state-sanctioned capacity. The pastor may perform a commitment ceremony for couples but without civil authority. I would be happy to head to the court house/city hall and be united under a civil union if it were recognized as giving the legal protections as found under the current marriage laws.
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Simon D November 01, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Alright, just looked you up, Thomas, and it turns out you are an actual blogger on this issue, and I read thru a couple of your articles including the one about like-minded business owners like yourself and the owners of Chic Fil A. You seem to be coherent in some of your arguments, as long as you have a platform for your agenda that doesn't include real time dissention. Referring to me as an internet outlier is kinda like accusing me of being you. I'm not you, though. I'm just Joe Schmo nobody who doesn't have a political agenda and who doesn't regularly publish on this topic, yet I am the one who is making you look "little".
garret November 01, 2012 at 11:47 PM
I chomping at the bit to comment... And I will later when this workday decides to end.
Robbo November 02, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Perhaps the more logical question is, 'Why does the state have the assumed right to define a label on a relationship between 2 consenting adult(humans). '? Does a gay marriage harm you or infringe upon any of your constitutional right? Live and let live.
garret November 02, 2012 at 04:44 PM
This comment Simon, was a bit disappointing. You have arbitrarily put me into a box I will never fit in. Do you see this as one side against the other side? And do you see me as your enemy? I want you to be very clear on something, I am not a republican, I am not a democrat, but rather a very independent voter. And I will forever stand by my word as I am a man of integrity. I will admit when I have made an error, in this case however no error is being committed.
garret November 02, 2012 at 04:54 PM
The lines of church and state are blurry at best since one of my students and hundreds of others have been punished for merely praying in school. This child was taught to pray (silently even!) before her meal and a teacher saw her bow her head and the rest is history. One of the main reasons for the existence of this great country was Religious Freedom, and that is not freedom. Now again I feel this amendment is infringing on what I hold dear and is reverse discriminating on those of faith who consider Marriage a Holy union. As for Ancient morals... would that also include not killing people, theft, lairs, loving your neighbor, turning the other cheek, the golden rule? Just curious as to the time line on those.
garret November 02, 2012 at 04:59 PM
It re-defines a centuries old sacred union. But, I'm in favor of calling it something other than marriage. I'm all for the civil liberties point of this movement.
Simon D November 02, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Garret, why do you think the word marriage is sacred? The term marriage is a Middle English word derrived from the Old French "marier", and before that from Latin "maritatis". None of these terms were ever used in the Bible, but have been added for ease of translation into Modern English that we understand. The best literal translation for the relationship you describe is a holy union. Marriage, as defined by Old Latin, refers to a social union and legal contract between two parties. It does not specify the sex of the participants, nor the number of participants. How about you leave the word marriage alone and refer to your "holy union" or your "sacred union" instead of trying to deny the civil rights of others?
Simon D November 02, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Garret, I think if you are serious about your stance on being for civil liberties, you are not understanding what this legislation is about. This legislation is about trying to prevent same sex couples from being allowed to have a government recognized partnership, and denying the benefits that are received from the government by opposite sex couples. This legislation has nothing to do with forcing any religion to accept or perform ceremony for same sex couples.
garret November 02, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Again Simon you fail to realize I'm for the Civil rights. You seem to have a disdain for those who have faith, not sure what that's about but you really need to stop projecting a judgement on me. Your etymological search on marriage is also lacking. The V. Latin maritaticum means for 2 to become one. So... there is that.
garret November 02, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Lets say a large group of people wanted to have a sex party. A consenting of adults (of legal age) to have an annual party that was sweeping the nation and they wanted to call it a bar mitzvah. There is nothing to prevent this naming convention, yet the Jewish community would feel disrespected and a special thing to their culture now has a bastardization attached to the "mere name." You may claim I'm hung up on words, but this word has described for us the Union of 2 into 1 with their God.
garret November 02, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Frederick, I have been letting this simmer and saute in my head. I agree. This may be the only conceivable win-win-win. I will say it is a fine line between having the government protecting a freedom and restricting freedom on the other side. As a simple example I learned; Your rights stop where mine begin. This can be a very hard line to draw and this may be one of those lines.
Laura B November 02, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Garret if you think marriage is only about religion then maybe you should try to ban non-Christian straight couples from getting married too then.
garret November 02, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I think they should also be put into the category of civil union. And this isn't just a Christian thing. It is supported by the Jewish and Islamic communities as well. And in those communities we even have differing opinions like the one this article shows. The reformed Jews are in support of gay marriage were the Orthodox Jews do not. Like wise for Muslims, there are some sects who want to see legislation also include polygamy. I believe that Marriage began as 1 man uniting with 1 woman ordained by God. Why then, would those who don't hold those beliefs want that? Culture. Many still get married in churches and vow and swear to things that they don't even believe.
Frederick Hess November 02, 2012 at 11:42 PM
I tell myself to disengage in this conversation then I feel compelled to jump back in. I have often wondered why to "protect marriage" that the constitutional amendment is not this, "Marriage is defined as a permanent sacred union between two individuals that may not be dissolved by civil action in the form of divorce or annulment." So once you make the decision to marry you better be pretty sure of what you are committing to. Gay or straight.
Kris Janisch November 06, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Got the letter from Pastor DuBose posted here. Sorry for the delay on that.


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