Marriage amendment back, not likely to see action

Gay marriage
Same-sex statues adorn the top of a wedding cake.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

(AP) - A group of Minnesota religious leaders say they're supporting another push at the state Capitol for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state, but the effort isn't likely to get much attention this year.

Neither are a few bills that would allow same-sex marriage in Minnesota by editing parts of current state law that specify marriage as between a man and a woman.

It's been several years since a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed the House floor. With both the House and Senate controlled by Democrats, gay marriage opponents now find themselves fighting against proposals to allow it.

"Our state marriage law is threatened," Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, said at a news conference Tuesday.

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He was joined by representatives from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Upper Midwest Chabad-Lubavitch movement, the Islamic Center of Minnesota, and others.

Chief among their concerns is a bill Sen. John Marty and Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, have introduced in the Senate and House to make Minnesota's marriage laws gender neutral.

But the legislation would have to be heard and passed in committees soon if it has any hope of making it to either the House or Senate floor this session.

Marty, a Roseville Democrat, said he still hopes to get a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee this session.

Even if it doesn't get a hearing in time to pass the full Senate, Marty said it would still be worthwhile to hear public testimony on the issue.

"I think we have to have this discussion," Marty said. "Attitudes have changed."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)