82 former Minnesota priests form group to back legalizing gay marriage

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A group of former Catholic priests is advocating for a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in Minnesota.

Fox 9 reports the 82 members of the group Former Priests for Marriage Equality collectively served the church for more than 1,000 years. They say state law should allow Minnesotans to marry the person they choose, regardless of whether that's someone of the opposite sex or the same sex.

That view helps explain why the men are former priests.

Church doctrine is clear that a marriage is to be a union of a man and woman. The Minnesota Catholic Conference is among the leading opponents of a bill at the Legislature that would repeal the law recognizing only opposite sex marriages.

While church leadership is adamant in its opposition, a poll released last week suggests rank and file Catholics in America are more open to recognizing gay marriage. The Quinnipiac University poll found 54 percent of Catholics supporting same sex marriage, compared to 47 percent of Americans generally.

This week, Catholics worldwide will be focused on the Vatican, where more than 100 cardinals have convened to select the next pope. They will disappear behind closed doors in a conclave that begins Tuesday.

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