Activists rally as Minn. lawmakers consider same-sex marriage bill

Minnesota for Marriage rally
Dozens of people came to support Minnesota for Marriage on Saturday, April 20, 2013, when the group's statewide bus tour stopped in Eden Prairie. The activists who oppose same-sex marriage are advocating to keep state law as is.
MPR Photo/Rupa Shenoy

Advocates on both sides of the debate over same-sex marriage continue to step up their efforts.

Minnesota for Marriage resumed its statewide bus tour this weekend, and Jennifer Roback Morse spoke at a stop on Saturday in Eden Prairie. Roback Morse founded the California-based Ruth Institute, which promotes marriage to college students.

Many Minnesotans voted against amending the Constitution in November, Roback Morse said, because they thought there was no threat to traditional marriage. She believes those voters were surprised to have state legislators propose same-sex marriage legislation so soon.

"The sense I have is that people are kind of annoyed about that," she said. "So even people who don't have strong feelings about the marriage issue per se are kind of like, 'We've been snookered.'"

Minnesota for Marriage chairman and Minnesota Family Council CEO John Helmberger was among the passengers on the RV that stopped in Eden Prairie. He told a crowd of a few dozen people that "the threat to marriage has never been as urgent as it is right now."

State lawmakers may vote on legislation to legalize same-sex marriage at any time, Helmberger said.

"If leadership sticks to their promise to deal with the budget first, it might not be till next month," Helmberger said. "But we're anticipating that this could happen, certainly before the end of the session."

Helmberger told supporters that legislators need to hear from them directly.

The main group on the other side of the issue, Minnesotans United for All Families, held a rally at the Capitol last week. Spokesman Jake Loesch said that Minnesotans are engaged in a discussion about marriage and that the proposed legislation is the next logical step.