Same-sex marriage supporters find exhibit space on fairgrounds

Same-sex marriage
Volunteer Tom Pavlick provides traditional marriage materials to Elizabeth Connolly, left, and her daughter-in-law Peggy Connolly outside the Church of Holy Childhood in St. Paul, Minn. Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2011. Minnesota for Marriage initially had a booth set up just blocks from the Minnesota State Fair, but was able to move to exhibit space on the fairgrounds midway through the fair.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

As usual, the Minnesota State Fair didn't come without some controversy.

A dispute about advocacy for a proposed amendment banning same sex marriage came during the closing days of the fair when Minnesotans for Marriage, a group supporting the ban, got exhibit space partway through the fair. Opponents of the ban, Minnesotans United for All Families, did not.

Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said Minnesotans United for All Families were offered a fairgrounds location last week.

"They had a phone conversation with our sales people that handle all the commercial space on Friday, and we told them how to go about registering for space," Hammer said.

Minnesotans United had been sharing space with other interest groups off of the fairgrounds, and decided it was too late to move to a fairground exhibit space, said Donald McFarland, a spokesman for the group.

The fair wound down Monday with a near-record attendance of almost 1.8 million people passing through the gates over the 12 days of the fair.