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Dueling chants and crowds
By the middle of the day, gay and lesbian advocates were packing the Capitol, wearing orange-and-blue “Support Marriage” stickers and shirts.
On the other side, Minnesota for Marriage ran shuttles ferrying activists back and forth to the Capitol from the Cathedral of St. Paul and Living Word Church. They wore Minnesota for Marriage blue and green.
At the North Star, the state’s iconic emblem of etched glass in the center of the Capitol, Lena Buggs and Jim Brunsgaard faced off.
Buggs, 42, of St. Paul, and Brunsgaard, 56, of Hastings, took opposite positions in the competitive chanting and singing that rose from the first floor.
“Peace and love!” chanted Buggs, a lesbian and supporter of the bill, standing at the velvet rope that rings the emblem.
“No! Vote no!” chanted Brunsgaard, a committed Christian who fell to his knees across the star from Buggs and shouted “No!” at every opportunity. People on his side of the debate formed a line and sang “Amazing Grace.”
After the vote, victorious same-sex marriage supporters spilled into the Capitol rotunda for a celebratory rally.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” supporters chanted gleefully outside the House chambers. As legislators walked out, they were greeted with the sort of earsplitting roars usually reserved for rock stars.
Before the House vote, Dayton, who campaigned heavily against November’s proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, summed up the mood of many inside the Capitol.
“This is one of those society-changing, breakthrough moments,” Dayton said.
Should the bill pass the Senate, Dayton would sign it in a public ceremony and the new law would take effect Aug. 1.
Staff writers Jennifer Brooks, Jim Ragsdale and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger contributed to this report.
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