Gay marriage foes rally to pressure lawmakers at Capitol

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Opponents of an effort to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota plan to press their case with legislators Thursday. The group Minnesota for Marriage has planned a 2:30 p.m. rally at the Capitol.

The group led a failed effort last year to amend the state constitution to forever ban same-sex marriage. Voters rejected the measure, with 52 percent voting against it and 47 percent in favor.

But gay marriage is still illegal in Minnesota, and Minnesota for Marriage aims to keep it that way. Scheduled speakers for the rally include Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, and Teresa Collett, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas, MinnPost reported.

The group leading the other side of the debate, Minnesotans United for All Families, rallied more than 1,000 supporters at the Capitol on Valentine's Day.

A bill that would legalize gay marriage was introduced last week, and the House Civil Law Committee is set to consider the measure next week in its first legislative hearing, the Associated Press reports.

Advocates of the bill are hoping for House and Senate votes this spring, and perhaps legal marriage ceremonies in the state by August.

The results of a Star Tribune poll of 800 adults released this week found 38 percent of respondents support legal gay marriage, 53 percent are against it and 9 percent are undecided.

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St. Paul-area Lutherans assembling in Burnsville, and separately, Gov. Mark Dayton and other activists holding "house parties" around the state, demonstrated their opposition to an amendment to the state Constitution that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.