Minnesota lawmakers are pouring their hearts out on the House floor as the historic debate over gay marriage continues.
As chanting protesters shook the walls with calls to vote yes or no, lawmakers rose one by one to talk about their own hopes and fears on one of the most intensely personal issues the Minnesota Legislature will cover this year.
"We come not to destroy marriage, but to uphold it for all," said Rep. Barb Yarusso, DFL-Shoreview.
"I have a hard time accepting the change to the way society has lived for centuries," said Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, urning his colleagues to find the "courage" to vote against legalization. "There will be consequences."
Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby, talked about the shock of hearing one of his own constituents speaking on the radio and saying that gay people should be shot.
Rep. Tim Faust, DFL-Faust, an ordained Lutheran minister from a district that voted to constutionally ban same-sex marriage last year, teared up as he spoke about his own marriage, and said he would vote for legalization to ensure every Minnesotan has the right to marry "the person they can't live without."
With equal intensity, Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said his faith was guiding his no vote. But his firm belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman did not change his respect for the supporters on the other side, he said, and he said he was grateful the Legislature was able to hold a civil debate on such a fraught and emotional issue.
"Some of my best friends are gay," said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, who nevertheless said he thought this was the "wrong time" to try to push for legalization. "Minnesota is still divided on this issue. Hearts and minds may be changing, but now is not the time."