Debate intensifies as marriage vote nears

The war over marriage in Minnesota has reached all corners of the state. Some dispatches from the front: Pro-amendment signs were vandalized at a Bemidji church. A local Ely newspaper owner says gay couples can take their wedding announcements elsewhere. And high-profile GOP operative Michael Brodkorb – among the very strategists who helped get the amendment on the ballot – says he will vote no.

In just three weeks, Minnesotans will vote on whether to adopt a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, and debate over the controversial and divisive measure is getting hotter all over the state.

In Bemidji, more than a dozen signs supporting the marriage amendment hanging outside St. Philip’s Catholic Church were vandalized over the weekend, the Bemidji Pioneer reports.

In Ely, the owner of the Ely Shopper advertiser recently made it clear she is against gay marriage. According to the Ely Echo, Dea Whitten, 59, said, "We never dreamt that gays would marry when I was a kid. If you want to put your gay wedding announcement in the Ely Shopper, bring it somewhere else." That prompted a number of objections. The Facebook page Boycott the Ely Shopper had more than 200 likes Tuesday morning, just a few days after launch.

Meanwhile, high-profile figures continue to generate headlines on the issue. Former GOP Senate operative Michael Brodkorb had a startling revelation in an interview with WCCO this week – he plans to vote no. Brodkorb, now in the midst of a lawsuit over his firing, was among those who pushed to get the measure on the ballot. But he says Republicans did that for political gain, in order to motivate conservatives to go the polls for the 2012 election. (More below.)

In other marriage debate news: Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, long a vocal advocate of gay marriage, is now challenging politicians to a debate.

And Lynx star Seimone Augustus, amid playing in the WNBA finals and planning a wedding with her partner, is arguing for gay marriage.

WCCO's interview with Brodkorb:

Here's the Chris Kluwe ad against the amendment, released Monday:

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