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Marriage amendment: ‘Vote yes’ sign stolen from St. Philip’s

BEMIDJI — A “Vote yes for marriage” sign was stolen outside of St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Bemidji between Monday night and Tuesday morning, escalating the debate of the proposed marriage amendment set to be voted on in November.

“We fell badly that whoever was not supporting the marriage protection amendment felt that they needed to go to such extremes,” said Robb Naylor, parish captain for the marriage amendment. “It was kind of a desperate act to rip that down and haul it away in order to promote their agenda.”

The 3-foot-by-12-foot sign was put up around 3 p.m. Monday afternoon and was gone the next morning. Naylor said the sign was very secure, made with a wooden frame. The white sign had black letting that read “Vote yes for marriage.”

“We didn’t want anything distracting,” Naylor said. “We wanted something simple that supported the marriage amendment.”

The Minnesota Catholic Conference is a supporter of the proposed amendment, which if passed would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Supporters on both sides of the issue have had signs staked on their properties, and both sides have seen vandalism like this throughout the state.

Minnesotans United for All Families press secretary Kate Brickman said a St. Paul neighborhood had “vote no” signs spray-painted and destroyed during the Minnesota State Fair, and one of the organization’s offices in Lake Park had its windows shot in within the last month.

Brickman and Naylor both agree that there should be room for discussion on both sides and that this type of destruction should not get in the way of the conversation.

“There should be room for discussion on both sides of the issue,” Naylor said. “That’s what our country is founded on.”

“We at Minnesotans United are calling on opponents and proponents to this amendment to remember to engage in a healthy and respectful dialogue through the remaining months of the campaign,” Brickman said.

Naylor said he will file a vandalism report with the Bemidji Police Department. He did not know whether another sign would be assembled.