Gay Activists Target Seniors in Minn. Marriage Vote

gay marriage

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Polls show voters in Minnesota are closely divided on a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage.

Gay activists in the state are trying to turn the tide in their favor by targeting one key voting bloc that has historically been skeptical of same-sex marriage: senior citizens.

Seniors have the highest voter turnout in Minnesota, so opponents of the ban have enlisted senior volunteers to call fellow elderly voters to win them over.

Elderly voters cite religious concerns most often. So the volunteers' script suggests using arguments that refer to faith in order to change their mind.

One scripted response goes like this: "I'm a person of faith. One of the values important to me is to treat people the way I would want to be treated. This amendment is hurtful to so many people, which is why I'm voting 'no.' What do you think about that?"

Traditional-marriage supporters are trying to mobilize seniors as well through their churches.

"The beauty of our campaign is it's a universal message, that children need a mother and a father and that they best thrive in a home where both those parents are there and loving them," said Winnie Okafor, outreach coordinator for Minnesota for Marriage.

Most Minnesotans who support the measure say religious leaders played a role in their decision.

"I believe in one man and one woman," said Art Posingies, 82. "I'm a Christian, I go to church. If it's in the Bible, I believe it and that settles it."

Minnesota is one of four states voting this fall on the definition of marriage.

President Obama recently spoke out in favor of ballot measures that would legalize gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington.

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