Capitol Crowds Swell As Gay Marriage Vote Looms

By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

ST. PAUL (WCCO/AP) — Hundreds of activists on both sides of the gay marriage debate crowded the State Capitol in preparation for a House vote that has yet not yet happened.

The bill is expected to be taken up by the Minnesota House later Thursday afternoon. If approved, it could land on Minnesota’s 2012 election ballot.

“To think that heterosexual couples have the market on marriage seems ridiculous,” said Gennae Falconer, a same-sex marriage supporter. “I think there’s a lot of ignorance about the issue of homosexuality and people fear it.”

On Wednesday, the Rules Committee narrowly approved a floor vote on the gay marriage amendment. The vote resulted in tears and outbursts from those in attendance.

Falconer says the government should not have any say in the personal lives of Minnesotans.

“I don’t think it’s any of their business,” said Falconer. “I know a lot of very committed gay and lesbian couples. I think they deserve the same rights as we do.”

On the other end, those who support the bill were also at the Capitol as well and say the House should approve it and leave it up to voters in 2012.

“It’s important for the people of the state of Minnesota to vote on this very important bill,” said Cathy Toner. “I just think marriage is very important and the family structure has deteriorated over the years. I think it’s an important thing for everyone in Minnesota to be involved in.”

Amy Kritzer is supporter of same-sex marriage and feels if left up to voters the amendment would pass.

“I think we should have equal rights,” said Kritzer.

Kritzer has been in a traditional marriage for 42 years. She feels those rights should be given to gay couples as well.

“I think it would be a sad day if it passes,” said Kritzer. “If it did pass and it seems like it will, then people like myself who are strongly in support of gay rights will mobilize and try to make sure that it doesn’t become part of the state constitution.”

Both the Minnesota Family Council, which supports the ban, and OutFront Minnesota, which opposes it, alerted supporters that a House vote might come Thursday afternoon. But the House didn’t take up the amendment, and leaders in that chamber are tight-lipped about when they might.

Capitol security officers say there were no arrests.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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