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Minn. arts groups rally against marriage amendment

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Joe Dowling
Guthrie Theatre Director Joe Dowling spoke against the proposed marriage amendment at a news conference in Minneapolis, Minn. on Monday, May 14, 2012.
MPR Photo/Sasha Aslanian

More than 50 arts organizations say they oppose a proposed state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Leaders from organizations like the Walker Art Center and the Guthrie Theatre Monday expressed their support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

Sheila Smith, executive director of the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, said the arts community will work together to defeat the amendment.

   "Minnesota's creative community thrives because of the contributions of all kinds of creative people — including gay people," Smith said. "Passage of this amendment would hang a 'not welcome' sign on our borders to a significant portion of the creative community and would cause damage to our image as a great place to be an artist."

Guthrie Theatre Director Joe Dowling recounted a wedding in New York of two gay men from Minnesota.

  "While the ceremony was beautiful and very moving, I felt a sense of anger, and frustration that such an event was not possible here where their families and their whole community could share their happiness fully," Dowling said.

A spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the amendment, called the argument "absurd." Chuck Darrell said that, "despite the fact that same-sex marriage is already prohibited in Minnesota, gays and lesbians are flocking to our state — not leaving it."