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Facebook Page Urges Boycott Of Basilica Block Party

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An organized effort on Facebook is urging people to not attend the Basilica Block Party.

The boycott is to protest the Catholic Church’s support of a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage. The Basilica Block Party is an annual summertime church fundraiser full of music that draws thousands to downtown Minneapolis.

What started out as a response to a blog turned into a social media movement designed to educate and inform.

The Facebook page was created to ask people to not support those that do not support equality and want to change the MN state constitution to ban gay marriage.

“It’s not a protest, it’s not a boycott. None of the verbage is on the invite it’s really just to bring awareness,” said Social Media Organizer Jason Wermager.

When Wermager decided to take a stand against a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, he never imagined he would use Facebook to do it. The page is called, “Say No To The Basilica Block Party.”

“I’m sending it to some 200 facebook friends of mine he sent it to some of his and within hours it just exploded,” Wermager said.

Wermager said he is not anti-church or anti-religion. He just wanted to spark conversation and dialogue between different people about what he calls the unequal treatment of same sex couples.

“Yes the Basilica does a lot of great things and a lot of money goes to support those in need but clearly they are under the umbrella of the Catholic church which is one of the strongest opponents of gay marriage,” Wermager said.

Wermager and his partner Alex Zachary said all they wanted to do is challenge people to think about where their money is going.

The basilica sent a statement saying they want the community to know that all proceeds from the Basilica Block party benefit two areas: Funding the ongoing renovation efforts of the Basilica and supporting the St. Vincent De Paul outreach program that provides food and other services to those in need.

Wermager and his more than 3,000 supporters on Facebook understand that they also said the Basilica has done a lot of outreach to the GLBT community.

“They are a real embracing organization or church that’s great they need to really support their folks,” said Wermager.

Wermager said he and others may decide to attend the block party only to support organizations that support gay marriage. He also feels it’s important to be at the block party on July 8-9 to educate others about the upcoming vote in Minnesota in 2012 on whether or not to restict marriage to a man and a woman.

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