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Marriage amendment signs vandalized again

The signs in support of the marriage amendment on the fence outside St. Philip’s Church have seen much vandalism. Several of the signs were spray-painted over the weekend. The amendment would define marriage in the Minnesota Constitution as between a man and a woman. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – More than a dozen signs supporting the marriage amendment that were hanging outside St. Philip’s Catholic Church were vandalized over the weekend.

The signs, which support the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, were spray-painted on sometime in the last few days.

It isn’t the first time the signs have been vandalized. An initial large sign was torn down in early September, and several lawn signs were found burned and scattered around the church in another incident, according to an email from the church’s parish captain Robb Naylor.  

But that won’t discourage the church.

“That happens a couple times a week,” said the Rev. Don Braukmann. “We just keep putting them up.”

Naylor said by phone Monday afternoon that St. Phillip’s is in the process of replacing the signs, and he planned to contact the authorities.

Naylor said he isn’t sure if the perpetrators were general vandals but it appears they are against the amendment.

Braukmann said the vandals are actually doing the church a favor by “creating a lot of conversation in the community.”

“They’re doing us a favor, they don’t know that,” Braukmann said.

Braukmann added that people have offered to provide surveillance equipment to potentially catch the vandals, but he wasn’t sure if St. Philip’s would accept.

The incident comes just weeks before the election and days after a pro-marriage amendment rally was held at the Rotary Pavilion. There was little protest of that event, except for one passer-by who yelled “vote no to discrimination.”

“It’s a sensitive issue,” Naylor said, adding that he hoped people would discuss the amendment with their neighbors rather than resort to vandalism.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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