Nienstedt appears at the beginning of the eight-minute video, which was prepared by the Knights of Columbus, and will be mailed to the state's Catholics on Wednesday, paid for by a large donation, the archbishop told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Monday evening. The archdiocesan website lists the state's Catholic population at "approximately 800,000."
"Our target is basically our Catholic people," Archbishop Nienstedt said in an interview. "To remind them of what we believe and why we believe it and why it's so important that they believe it."
Nienstedt spoke to KSTP-TV at the Catholic Defense League's annual Mass and banquet at St. Helena's Catholic Church in south Minneapolis. The archbishop was the keynote speaker at the dinner, delivering a speech to more than a hundred people titled, "In defense of Marriage and Family."
Before the speech, Nienstedt said he hoped the DVD would be a "teaching tool" to parishioners in the 217 archdiocesan parishes.
"It's not partisan politics in any way. But you know, it's kind of rallying the troops around this issue and pointing out to Catholics that this is an important issue in every election year," archbishop Nienstedt said.
The DVD will arrive in homes less than six weeks before the Nov. 2nd elections. Candidates for Minnesota governor Mark Dayton (DFL) and Tom Horner (IP) support legalizing gay marriage; Tom Emmer (R) does not.
"We're not a political force," Nienstedt said, "but we are a religious force. So we think we should be part of the conversation."
In a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign said, "There is a difference between civil marriage, that is marriage under the law, and marriage in the religious sense. If marriage equality becomes law in Minnesota, no church would be forced to recognize any marriage they do not agree with. This is a matter of basic equality under the law and has nothing to do with religion. This is a matter of fairness."
Earlier Monday, before the archbishop's comments, Cindy Killion, who founded the LGBT Resource Center of the Seven Rivers Region in La Crosse, WI, told the Associated Press that the DVD campaign "is insulting to homosexuals." She called gay marriage an issue of "equal rights."
Killion added, "I don't understand why it's so important to continue this culture war and paint us as the bogeymen," Killion said. "This is a secular issue, an equal-rights issue. I don't see why religion thinks it owns marriage."