A bill to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota has the votes to clear one of its first major legislative hurdles, despite loud protests from opponents at a rally Thursday at the Capitol.
Hundreds of gay marriage opponents crowded the Capitol's rotunda, trying to slow momentum on the effort to repeal the state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. "We believe it's a perversion of God's best intentions for his people," said Carolyn Alm, a demonstrator from Chisago City.
But the bill was already headed for a key boost in the House Civil Law Committee: nine of 17 members on that committee told The Associated Press they would vote for the bill, enough to send it on to the full House.
Both House Civil Law and the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled hearings next Tuesday on the bill, and its success in Senate Judiciary looks nearly as likely. Four of eight members told the AP they'd vote yes; a fifth, DFL Sen. Barb Goodwin, said she supports gay marriage but is uncomfortable moving so quickly to legalize it in Minnesota. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Scott Dibble, said he was confident of winning over Goodwin.
All the confirmed yes votes in both committees come from Democrats, who hold the House and Senate majorities. So far, only one Republican lawmaker out of 89 has committed to supporting the bill.