GLBT backers rally against proposed amendment

OutFront Minnesota – an organization that supports GLBT rights – held a rally at the State Capitol rotunda.

Emily Ayshford

Two days after Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a pledge supporting a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, opponents had their say at the State Capitol on Wednesday.

OutFront Minnesota – one of the largest state organizations serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community – held a rally in the Capitol rotunda to show faith communities’ support for GLBT.

Under a banner that read, “To be lesbian/gay is a gift from God,” legislators and faith leaders in the community expressed their support to approximately 100 onlookers.

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said these are “tough times” in the Legislature.

“We see other people using their faith to tell us what to do,” he said. “We’ve been discriminating long enough, and we shouldn’t be writing it into the constitution now.”

Bishop Lowell Erdahl, former bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said he believes many people misuse passages in the Bible that condemn homosexuality.

“The Bible says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today,” he said.

The Republican-led House passed the marriage amendment legislation six weeks ago, but the Democrat-controlled Senate has blocked the bill since March.

If it passes this session, voters would decide on the state constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

During the rally, Hmong religious leaders and others voiced their support for the legislation outside the Capitol.

After the rally, only one bill supporter remained.

Ken Johnson, a retired teacher, held a sign that read, “Let us vote” on the building’s steps.

“I’m against defining a marriage as anything other than a man and a woman,” he said.

He said he is not against gay couples, but thinks they should not marry because they do not produce children and should not receive health-care benefits without children.