Minnesotans Rally in Defense of Marriage
By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Morning Editor
April 21, 2005

(CNSNews.com) - The defense of traditional marriage drew thousands of Minnesotans to the State Capitol in St. Paul, where they lobbied for a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman on Wednesday.

Minnesota law already defines marriage as a one-man-one-woman arrangement, but conservatives say that's not enough, given the possibility that court rulings will overturn laws passed by the people's representatives.

"A constitutional amendment defining marriage as 'the union of one man and one woman' is important to the people of Minnesota, and they deserve a chance to vote on it," Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, said at Wednesday's rally.

Minnesota's Republican-controlled House has passed the proposed amendment, but it is now bottled up in a Senate committee.

State Sen. Michele Bachmann, the amendment's Republican sponsor, tried to move the bill to the floor of the Senate (controlled by the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party) for a vote, but she was unable to do that.

Press reports say as things stand now, the proposed amendment is not expected to advance until next year.

Amendment backers, led by the group Minnesota for Marriage, want the amendment to appear on the 2006 ballot, and at Wednesday's rally, they blasted the "obstructionist leadership" in the State Senate.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, was a keynote speaker at Wednesday's rally. He urged the crowd not to let a "handful of political opportunists block this amendment. Do not let them rest until the marriage amendment is passed."

'Not a hate group'

Supporters of the marriage amendment are trying to make it clear that their campaign is not motivated by hatred or discrimination against homosexuals.

The Minnesota For Marriage website states that it is "not a homosexual hate group -- we subscribe to the belief that all individuals are entitled to the respect and acceptance they deserve as members of our society. However, this does not mean that we need to agree with those who would seek to redefine the institution of marriage."

Press reports said a number of signs at Wednesday's rally read, "Though we love all people, we support traditional marriage."

Homosexual activists strongly oppose the marriage amendment, and they expressed their views at a rally outside the State Capitol two weeks ago.

OutFront Minnesota argues that same-sex couples are entitled to "equality under the law," and they reject the amendment as a "politically driven attack."

Eighteen states have adopted constitutional marriage amendments, and at least three more states -- Alabama, South Dakota and Tennessee -- will have marriage amendments on their 2006 ballots.

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