For the second straight day, both sides in the divisive debate over same-sex marriage in Minnesota camped out Friday morning at the Capitol outside the House chamber, awaiting a vote by the chamber's members that would place a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
About 60 opponents of the measure and a considerably smaller number of supporters camped out shortly before the House convened at 9 a.m., with amendment opponents serenading the incoming legislators with the 60s chestnut, "what the world needs now is love, sweet love."
The modest demonstration followed a raucous four-hour rally by the two sides Thursday afternoon, during which they rattled the Capitol with chants, waiting for the vote. House leaders have given no direct indication when they will take up the bill, which already has been approved by the Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton, who has said he will fight the ballot measure, has no direct voice in the debate because constitutional amendments bypass the governor's desk, giving him no ability to veto them.
Amendment opponents fashioned signs saying "Minnesotans for Gay Marriage," aping the supporters' mass produced signs that declare "Protect Marriage in Minnesota."
The chants resumed as the House session got underway, withh the sound seeping into the chamber.
"No hate, no hate, love does not discriminate," the opponents shouted. "Let the people vote," the handful of supporters struggled to make themselves heard.
After a half-hour spent on routine legislative housekeeping matters, the House recessed until late Friday morning. As members made their way out of the chamber, they had to thread a gauntlet of amendment opponents, who hollered at them, "no amendment, just vote no!" Except for a few recognizable DFLers who oppose the amendment, most walked through the crowd poker-faced.
When the House reconvened, the chanting resumed after a 90-minute break, even as members were debating the bill to require voters to present a photo ID before casting their ballots.