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Gay marriage proponents rally in cold at Capitol

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Sleet and cold likely thinned the crowds at a rally in support of gay marriage at the Capitol as part of an annual Lobby Day event organized by OutFront Minnesota.

Gov. Mark Dayton, who supports legalizing gay marriage in the state, spoke to a crowd of a few hundred, less than the few thousand that had been expected, the Associated Press reported. (OutFront called it thousands.)

Dayton called marriage "a fundamental right" under the Constitution, MinnPost reported. Dayton belittled a new legislative proposal that the state approve "civil unions," rather than marriage, for same-sex couples, MinnPost reported.

“People don’t want to be civiled-unioned,’’ he said. “They want to be married.’’

The lobby day events took on a new urgency for participants this year after House and Senate committees approved bills that would legalize gay marriage in Minnesota. Full House and Senate votes are expected – but not guaranteed – in the next few weeks, although it is not clear the measures have enough support to pass.

Gay marriage supporters took out full-page ads in Twin Cities newspapers Wednesday as part of their efforts, MinnPost reported.

Opponents of gay marriage in Minnesota are also leading aggressive lobbying efforts. The group Minnesota for Marriage has been organizing a series of "road trip" events around the state, including events this weekend in Montevideo, Eden Prairie, Austin, Rochester and Owatonna.

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