Rally calls for ban on gay marriage

The Legislature is considering a bill to amend the state constitution.

Stephanie Kudrle

Approximately 3,000 people prayed, carried signs with Bible verses and chanted “let us vote” on the State Capitol steps Monday to support a gay-marriage ban.

Rally participants pushed for a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. An attempt to make the full Senate vote on a proposed constitutional amendment accomplishing that goal failed in a committee meeting Monday.

The Senate voted against pulling the bill out of a committee and putting the measure to an immediate floor vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear the bill Friday.

If the amendment, which is expected to pass the House, is also approved by the Senate, Minnesotans would vote whether to ban gay marriage on November’s ballot.

University alumnus Pete Peterson said he attended the rally to uphold the Bible’s morality lessons.

“The Bible is the absolute truth,” he said. “A standard for morality.”

Peterson, who graduated from the University in 2001, carried a sign that read ” ‘U’ of ‘M’ students and alumni for the sanctity of marriage.”

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual program director B. David Galt said Peterson’s sign does not represent the University’s official position.

“I would like to think if there was going to be a stance, it won’t be that,” he said.

Galt said he supports the freedom to assemble, but thought the rally promoted constitutional discrimination against gays.

The Minnesota Family Council, a group that advocates for Christian family beliefs, organized the event with several religious groups.

Monday’s rally was held to urge the Senate to vote on the amendment before the session ends, according to the organization’s Web site.

Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, said she fears the bill will stall in the judiciary committee, effectively killing it for the year.

“It’s imperative that we allow the people of Minnesota to have a voice in the fundamental reordering of society,” she said.

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said he will not support the amendment in the Judiciary Committee on Friday and does not expect the committee to pass it.

“A lot of people feel uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage,” Marty said. “They’ve been told this is a threat and going to destroy our families.”

Marty said he has been married for more than 20 years and is not sure what the fear is about.

Other groups will attempt to make their voices heard later in the week at the Capitol.

Outfront Minnesota, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lobby group, is organizing a rally for Thursday to support gay marriage.

– Bridget Brown and The Associated Press contributed to this report.