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Crowd Of Demonstrators Grows At Minn. Capitol

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(credit: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Hundreds of people on both sides of the gay marriage issue are expressing their viewpoints at the Minnesota Capitol where the House is expected to cast a historic vote on legislation legalizing same-gender unions.

The demonstrators filled the hallway outside the House chambers Thursday where debate was expected to begin at midday. Supporters of gay marriage, dressed in orange T-shirts, held up signs that read “I Support The Freedom to Marry.” Behind them, opponents held up bright pink signs that simply said “Vote No.”

Security at the Capitol was tighter than usual as the crowd of demonstrators gathered.

House Democratic leaders say they’re confident they have sufficient votes to pass the measure. If successful, the state Senate would take up the legislation on Monday, paving the way for Gov. Mark Dayton to sign it next week.

Among the supporters of gay marriage was 27-year-old Grace McBride, a nurse from St. Paul. She says she and her partner felt compelled to be there to watch history unfold Thursday.

McBride says she’s thought about her wedding since she was a little girl, and hopes to get married as soon as possible if the bill becomes law.

The legislation would allow it starting Aug. 1.

McBride says the movement has come a long way in two years since the Legislature sent a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriage to the ballot. The campaign to defeat it laid the groundwork for the legalization vote, which is expected later Thursday.

RELATED: Tight Security For Gay Marriage Vote In Minnesota
RELATED: Minnesotans Speak Out As House Prepares For Marriage Vote

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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