Two stories for two marriage debate spokesmenBrian Camenker never thought as he grew up in Duluth that he would be talking about gay marriage, let alone become one of its most-quoted opponents.
By: Don Davis, State Capitol Bureau
ST. PAUL — Brian Camenker never thought as he grew up in Duluth that he would be talking about gay marriage, let alone become one of its most-quoted opponents.
If Camenker’s involvement is a bit of a surprise, so is that of John Sellers. He was one of the first gay men married after the Iowa Supreme Court allowed it in 2009, and he works for a major Iowa radio station that features such conservative, anti-gay-marriage hosts as Rush Limbaugh.
“The whole concept of a man marrying another man is complete lunacy,” Camenker said, and if he told someone in Duluth back in the 1960s that he would be talking about such an issue, “the person would have thought I had lost my mind to be even bringing it up.”
Camenker was born in Duluth and left in 1967. He later lived in the Twin Cities and still returns to visit his father in Duluth.
He fields calls from around the country as head of MassResitance, a Massachusetts group that opposed a 2004 state court order overturning a same-sex marriage ban. The group has monitored the issue since.
Camenker has worked with Minnesotans who favor the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages.
“I’m working with people across the state,” he said. “What I am finding is that the DFL areas on this issue are not as Democrat as you would think.”
In Iowa, Sellers is working to keep gay marriage legal and, like Camenker, frequently speaks out in the media on the issue. But, he said, he never has been on the station where he works.
In a telephone interview from Drake University in Des Moines, where as an engineer he was setting up for a WHO Radio remote broadcast, Sellers said his employer accepts his gay marriage.
“I have had no real issues at all,” he said. “I am sure I make some people uncomfortable.”
WHO, which used to be known for announcers telling Minnesota jokes, has become a rallying point for Iowa conservatives who two years ago led a revolt resulting in voters removing three state Supreme Court justices after they took part in a unanimous ruling to overturn the gay-marriage ban.