Marriage Amendment: Should the Northfield City Council Oppose It?

The Northfield City Council at its Tuesday meeting will consider approving a resolution opposing the proposed Minnesota marriage amendment.

The Northfield City Council at its Tuesday meeting will consider approving a resolution opposing the proposed Minnesota marriage amendment.

On Nov. 6, Minnesotans will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman—which would limit marriage to opposite sex couples.

Councilor Erica Zweifel proposed the idea, saying she was asked by a group of residents to present it to the council.

"I am requesting that the council consider adding Northfield’s name to the growing list of cities that have taken a stand on this issue," Zweifel wrote in a summary to the council. "These cities have been very clear that they have taken this stand based on the negative impacts that, if passed, the marriage amendment would have on their cities. They cite reasons from reduced economic vitality to promoting equality in their communities."

Thirteen city councils throughout Minnesota have passed resolutions opposing the marriage amendment, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, St. Louis Park and Mountain Iron.

The Northfield City Council resolution, which can be seen with additional information in the attached PDF, reads:

WHEREAS, in 2011 the Minnesota State Legislature voted to include the following question on the election ballot in November 2012: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”; and the proposed amendment, if passed, would add a Section 13 to Article XIII of the Minnesota Constitution stating: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota”; and

WHEREAS, the City of Northfield has long recognized the importance of equality for all citizens through its championing of equality and human rights, including establishing a Human Rights Commission and adopting a domestic partnership registry; and 

WHEREAS, limiting access to marriage also limits tax benefits and property rights, as well as government, housing, medical and other benefits; and

WHEREAS, the proposed amendment would put Northfield at a disadvantage in the global economy and compared to cities, states and countries where government not only does not seek to restrict access to the legal benefits of marriage to certain groups of citizens, but actively legislate to ensure all couples can enjoy full marriage rights; and

WHEREAS, it is in the duty of a municipal government to protect the health and well being of citizens of their community. The proposed amendment will only seek to disenfranchise citizens, not enable them.


The Northfield City Council joins the broad coalition of businesses, organizations, and individuals in opposing the proposed constitutional amendment entitled “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman” and urges Minnesota citizens to vote “No” on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

In June, the Northfield City Council approved a domestic partnership registry ordinance.

Vote No Support

The "Vote No" movement has been growing in Northfield since June when more than 250 people gathered at Carleton's Weitz Center for Creativity in support of Rice County Votes No, an effort to defeat the proposed amendment.

Petitions have since popped up on both the St. Olaf and Carleton College campuses opposing the amendment.

A group of alumni from Carleton College is petitioning the college to take a stand against the issue. That petition has collected 330 signatures. There's also a Facebook group called Carleton Alumni for Marriage Equality supporting the effort. A St. Olaf petition opposing the amendment has garnered more than 1,000 signatures

The Carleton College faculty is considering passing a resolution opposing the marriage amendment.

The college will not take a stance on the issue.

Eric Sieger, director of media relations for Carleton, told Patch "we clearly value the personal choices and commitments of every member of the Carleton family ... (but) we do not take political stances on social issues that do not involve our core educational mission."

St. Olaf College’s faculty in September took a symbolic vote to oppose the amendment.

Following the St. Olaf faculty vote, Minnesotans United for All Families released the following statement:

Each time a city, faculty, business or community of faith speaks out against this amendment it sparks conversations all across the state about what marriage means and who should have the freedom to participate in it. We are proud to see more and more Minnesotans say that they will treat all people the way they want to be treated, instead of singling out same-sex couples and excluding them from the freedom to marry.


WHAT: Northfield City Council meeting
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Northfield City Hall 

More marriage amendment posts on Northfield Patch

  • Marriage Amendment on Carleton Faculty Meeting Agenda
  • Carleton Faculty Considering Vote on Minnesota Marriage Amendment
  • St. Olaf Faculty Opposes Minnesota Marriage Amendment
  • Carleton Responds to Petition to Oppose Marriage Amendment
  • Alumni Petition Carleton College to Oppose Marriage Amendment
  • Minnesota Companies that Oppose the Marriage Amendment
  • Minnesota Companies that Support the Marriage Amendment
  • Just Food Co-op Signs as Coalition Partner with Minnesotans United for All Families
  • POLL: Do You Approve Of The Marriage Amendment's Ballot Title?
  • Why I Am Voting Yes for the Minnesota Marriage Amendment
  • A Legacy—A Poem Opposing the Minnesota Marriage Amendment
  • The Soul of the Thing
  • One Reason I Oppose the Marriage Amendment: The Children
  • For the Sake of Minnesota's Constitution—JUST VOTE NO!
  • VIDEO: Rice County Group Launches Campaign Against MarriageAmendment
  • PHOTOS: Rice County Group Launches Campaign Against Marriage Amendment
Dick Jarvis October 02, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Will the council express their feelings on other issues? Such as the presidential race? How about their opinion on global warming; cyciical or human cause? Will they also advise what I shall make for dinner, pork or fish? I am sure the council has lots of time to kill since they have demonstrated an unwillingness to really solve difficult issues where their opinion would make a difference in our city.
Sandy Dau October 02, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I for one hope that the Council will NOT take an official stand on this very divisive issue. There are many people in Northfield who DO support this amendment, and yet are afraid to post signs in their yards for fear of vandalism, as has occurred in other parts of our state. It is not the right of the council to make a proclamation such as this for all of it's citizens. We are already an "open and welcoming" community - let's leave it there.
Lance R. Heisler October 02, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I agree (strongly) with the comments already made. For the council to presume to speak for it's citizens on a state wide or national political issue that is scheduled for a popular vote is bad precedent and unnecessarily divisive. It is not what the council is elected to do. (Do we really want and need to suss out our candidates on a broad range of state and national political issues for fear they will misrepresent our viewpoints?) It could always be said that a given candidate or proposal would be good or bad for the economics or morale of the city. That is not good justification for going outside the province of the council and attempting to speak for the city on a political matter. As is every citizen's right, the mayor and each councilor are free to take a position on this or any other political issue or candidate, for whatever weight it might carry. That is and must be enough.
Shodo Spring October 10, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I am grateful that City Council decided to support my civil rights. The comments opposing this probably come from people who never think about the vast range of benefits that come from being married to your partner - money, health insurance, ability to visit in hospital, children, inheritance, and many more. Thank you!
Cory Henrichs October 29, 2012 at 03:39 PM
alright im sorry im pretty confused on this so is the city of northfield supporting gay marriage?


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