250 ‘Vote No’ students gather to oppose amendment

Junior Chris Gelke said about 250 students gathered in the Lower Quad Thursday, to pose for a photo showing their decision to ‘Vote No’ on the marriage amendment.

Senior Mark Koranda takes a photo of students in opposition to Minnesota's marriage amendment in the Lower Quad. Junior Chris Gelke organized the event and said about 250 students attended. (Tarkor Zehn/TommieMedia)
Senior Mark Koranda takes a photo of students in opposition to Minnesota's marriage amendment in the Lower Quad. Junior Chris Gelke organized the event and said about 250 students attended. (Tarkor Zehn/TommieMedia)

Gelke, the main organizer for the event, said this was the second photo students have taken to show their opposition to the amendment, but this time around, students were given a piece of paper to write down specific reasons why they were voting no.

Some of the signs read “Love is Love,” “Equality for All” and “Love is not Limited.” Other signs were more personal and were written to show alliance with loved ones and family members.

Gelke said he thought it was important to have a second photo after all of the added support from the community after the first photo became public on social media sites and other forums.

“In the last couple of weeks, we started conversations, we started discussions, and the amount of enthusiasm that we’ve gotten has been amazing,” Gelke said.

The number of students from the first photo increased significantly from about 30 people, and he said it was great to see so many people show up for the second shoot.

“I was incredibly pleased with the turnout. It shows there’s a real size of opposition to the marriage amendment here at St. Thomas, and that’s what I wanted to demonstrate to the people of Minnesota,” Gelke said.

Gelke explained that the day of the photo was also deliberately chosen to be in alliance with National Coming Out Day.

“National Coming Out Day, October 11, is supposed to be an opportunity for people both of the LGBT community as well as allies to come out in opposition of this amendment,” Gelke said.

Junior Elizabeth Phyle said she hopes the signs help show the passion people have for the issue on campus.

“It shows all the emotions, feelings, and personal relation to the issue. It’s not just a political ballot, but a personal connection,” Phyle said.

Junior Elizabeth Harris said she thought it was a great way to show how young people are getting involved with the campaign.

“It’s really important for people of our age to be informed and vocal about what their beliefs are,” she said.

Gelke said he ultimately hopes their efforts will not go in vain.

“We are for equality, inclusion, and tolerance and we’re going to fight to defeat this amendment,” he said.

Tarkor Zehn can be reached at zehn0241@stthomas.edu.

23 Replies to “250 ‘Vote No’ students gather to oppose amendment”

  1. This is sad–these students at a Catholic University are openly opposing the Archbishop’s call to defense of real marriage. Well I know that there are Tommies that support our beloved our Archbishop–I stand with those Tommies in defense of real marriage between one man and one woman! :)

  2. Why was there no mention of the large group of UST Students who gathered October 3 in front of the arches for a photo to show their support for the MN Marriage Amendment? If you’re going to report on the “Vote No” photos you should report on the “Vote Yes” photo too. You can view the “Vote Yes” photo here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=413540725377845&set=a.377750225623562.67505293.173643116034275&type=1&theater

  3. Maybe no one at Tommie Media wanted to write a story in support of the MN Marriage Amendment.

  4. Good to see people taking a stand either way.  Joseph, just because UST is a Catholic University doesn’t mean that every student/alumni is Catholic.  I would imagine there is a large percentage of Tommies that are not Catholic.  Not to mention the fact that a good Catholic should be able to think for themselves to form their own opinions rather than be a zombie who will never challenge the message of a book that is outdated and very easily misinterpreted.  Why should a Catholic leave the interpretation of the Bible up to one person to decide?  Be your own person…be educated…and create your own informed position on matters such as these.

  5. Good point Tyler. Actually, according to the UST website, only 44 percent of students who report their religion are Roman Catholic.

  6. In Tommie Media’s defense, they didn’t report on the first “Vote No” picture when it initially happened either. I’m sure if the “Vote Yes” folks did another photo with over 200 students now TM would do a story. 

  7. You do not have to be Catholic to attend St. Thomas, only 52% of St. Thomas students are Catholic. The St. Thomas community doesn’t just revolve around the Catholic church, it hasn’t for many years. You can be Catholic and vote no, I am.

  8. Mr. Seurer: You have a misunderstanding of Catholic teaching and what it means to be Catholic. We do not follow “a book.” We follow the Word: Jesus Christ. This includes reading Sacred Scripture and applying it to our lives. But it also includes doing so within the Sacred Tradition of the Church. All of the faithful may interpret Scripture and apply it to their lives, but must do so within the Sacred Tradition. This ensures that individuals are not finding messages that are not in Scripture. Catholics are free to interpret Scripture as long as their interpretations do not oppose the teachings of Christ, teachings which are preserved in His Church, the authority of which He handed onto His Apostles and which has been handed on since. The “interpretation of the Bible” is not left up to “one person ” but to one Person: the Holy Spirit, Who guides the Church. A Catholic does not oppose the Church. A Catholic can question the teachings of the Church in order to understand them. It is different from opposing the Church, though, which often comes from a lack of understanding. You say, “Be your own person… be educated… create your own informed position…” How is a position informed if one is creating it on his/her own? How about: Be a person: Pursue truth; don’t just form…

  9. I agree with Tyler. The Catholic Church derives it’s authority from one particular reading of an outdated book which arguably has little truth value to begin with. Better to keep an open mind and think for yourself rather than submit to any one dogma. Rigid adherence to a single worldview isn’t the way to “pursue truth” at all.

  10. Mr. Huber: I would like to pose a question to you: How has an institution which “derives its authority from one particular reading of an outdated book” lasted over two thousand years? Especially, how could it have lasted if this book “has little truth value to begin with”? Look at history. You can say that the Church “derives its authority from one particular reading of an outdated book” that “has little truth value.” But this would be to ignore history. It is simply not the case. The history of the Church and the lives of its members from the very beginning will tell a very different story from what you say. 

    I would agree that one should keep an open mind. A person should be open to hearing and seeking understanding of different views and to learning in general. (To note: This does not imply that all views are to be accepted as true. For indeed, different views often contradict each other and one cannot logically hold a contradiction.) If by thinking for yourself you mean one exercising his or her ability to reason, then I agree with this too. In your last sentence you seem to imply that there is a way to pursue truth. I would ask you these questions then: What is truth? How do we pursue it?

    I look forward to continuing our conversation.

  11. I’m so tired of this “its a catholic institution so we can’t have anything that goes against what the archbishop says” line of argument. Last time I checked, the Catholic church is still very opposed to war, yet we still have ROTC on on campus. I have a feeling that the marriage amendment is about more than theology… 

  12. To answer your first question, plenty of beliefs without much truth value do very well in this world. Among these include other religions which I suspect you do not believe in, such as Islam and the polytheistic religions of old. The former, whose adherents regularly engage in mass violence in response to things as trivial as a cartoon, is rapidly overtaking Christianity in numbers. The latter survived for a many centuries as well, but now their gods are all but dead now. The case of Mormonism is particularly instructive, as we can see from more detailed historical accounts how a convicted con artist was able to found a major religion in modern times. Ultimately, the popularity and endurance of these belief systems tells us nothing about their veracity but a good deal about the limits of bounded rationality.

    I would define truth simply as what is in accord with reality. Either god exists or he does not. One of these must be true, and one false. I’d argue that the best way to discover truths about our world is through science. This may not provide the comfort of immediate or absolute answers to every question, but at least it is rigorous and protects us from fooling ourselves.

  13. Mr. Antonelli: To whom are you addressing your comments? I would encourage you to look into the Catholic Church’s teachings on war. You can refer to Paragraphs 2302-2330 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. Focus particularly on Paragraphs 2308 and 2309. You misunderstand the Church’s teachings on war.

    You make the statement that “the marriage amendment is about more than theology.” What do you mean by this? Please clarify your statement and please provide an argument for your clarification. I would be happy to address what you say and the argument behind it, but I need to understand what you’re saying first.

    Regarding the Archbishop and the University being a Catholic institution, if the University wants to hold its Catholic identity, it cannot oppose the teachings of the Church in issues of doctrine or morality. This does not mean that everyone who attends the University must be Catholic and it does not mean that we cannot have dialogues about moral issues or about political issues. It does mean that students who apply to the University of St. Thomas and who later attend this institution understand and respect its Catholic identity. The Archbishop has the duty to safeguard the Catholic identity of a Catholic institution in his archdiocese. 

  14. Mr. Huber: Please respond to my questions at your convenience. It seems we both agree that there is truth. I would like to understand what you see as truth and how we can pursue it. I would be open to sharing my beliefs on this and providing arguments for them as well.

  15. Ms. Vo: You made the comment that “[t]his is beautiful.” Please tell me why you think it is beautiful. I would like to understand what you think and why.

  16. Mr. Huber:

    Thank you for your response. I will be working to formulate my response over the next few days. (Like all of us, I have class and work commitments that I need to focus on first. I hope to have a response to you by Wednesday night.) I would like to know, though, what you mean by the term “science.” I need to understand what you believe science is, how you believe it functions, and what you believe it can show about reality in order to address your response adequately. I realize that you also have commitments of your own, so feel free to respond as your time allows. 

    Kind regards,
    Andrew Rice

  17. In short, science is the process of generating and testing falsifiable hypotheses. A good hypothesis should include predictions which can be supported or contradicted based on empirical evidence. In addition, I see replication and peer review as important in establishing a body of scientific knowledge.

    The scientific method has already taught us a great deal about how the world and people work. It can also teach us about how to think about questions we don’t yet have a definitive answer to. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, as Carl Sagan said. Too often, people believe that “faith” is reasonable substitute for scientific uncertainty. In reality, there is nothing reasonable about believing metaphysical propositions whose evidence doesn’t stand up to even mild scientific scrutiny.

  18. Mr. Huber: 

    I apologize for the delay in responding to you. Thank you for explaining what you mean by science. I will work to formulate my response in light of this definition you have given. I have a number of assignments due soon, so I will do my best to respond within the week. Again, I apologize for the delay.

    Andrew Rice

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