Opponents of a bill that would allow same-sex marriage in Minnesota have kicked off a statewide bus tour.
Members of Minnesota for Marriage, the chief political group opposed to legal same-sex marriage in the state, boarded an RV on Friday and will hold rallies this weekend in Duluth, Grand Rapids, Brainerd, Detroit Lakes and Morris.
Minnesota for Marriage staff members and guest speakers are urging people to contact their legislators and tell them that existing state law protects traditional marriage, said spokeswoman Autumn Leva.
"That's what the public purpose of marriage is, and that's a good policy; we don't want to get rid of it," Leva said. "And ... just letting legislators know that this bill does nothing to protect individual religious rights and rights of conscience."
A strong majority of outstate Minnesotans believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman, Leva said.
"The same-sex marriage bill does nothing to protect them from being forced to recognize same-sex unions as the equivalent of traditional marriage, and that's not acceptable," she said. "It's appropriate to have their voices be heard at this point and to help them contact their legislators and get that message across."
The two-week bus tour will include stops on Friday in Hinckley at 7 p.m.; Saturday in Duluth at 11 a.m., Grand Rapids at 2:45 p.m. and Brainerd at 7 p.m.; Sunday in Detroit Lakes at 12:15 p.m. and Morris at 3:30 p.m. The trip will conclude the weekend of April 20-21 with stops in Eden Prairie, Montevideo, Owatonna, Austin and Rochester.
Supporters of same-sex marriage say they are also stepping up their campaign. On Thursday, they will hold a rally at the state Capitol, and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to speak.