Gay Rights Rally Takes Over Capitol Despite Soggy Weather

Posted at: 04/18/2013 6:43 PM
Updated at: 04/18/2013 6:49 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Hundreds of gay marriage supporters braved the cold and wet weather, rallying outside the Minnesota capitol Thursday. It was officially “lobbying day” at the capitol, and several gay marriage groups presented their strongest argument.

"You have the constitutional right, you have an American right, to marry the person you love," said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. He opened the rally with the words this group has been fighting to hear.

"That's that we support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the state of Minnesota and 2013 is the year we want to see that become law," said Jake Loesch with Minnesota United.

The governor reaffirmed his commitment to sign a gay marriage bill if one makes it to his desk. "People don't want to be civil union’ed, they want to be married," said Dayton.

"Minnesotans know that marriage is about the love, and the commitment, the responsibility that two people share and it’s time to make sure that all families have that stability and that protection," said Loesch.

That message was heard loud and clear from the roughly one thousand supporters, who toughed it through the sleet, and cold to be there. "I'm blown away by how many people are here through this weather and how awful it is. It’s great to see and it’s a true testament to what Minnesotans really value and what we value is family and freedom," said Loesch.

"In this weather, to kind of show their support for families like mine," said gay marriage supporter Brad Weber. He was overjoyed with the support for legislation that directly impacts his life. "The person on the right is my husband Ryan and the two kids in the middle are our two kids, Kyle and Josh," said Weber.

Many others were there for their families, including Rochester Diversity Council's Vangie Castro. "At the end of the day we need to know deep in our hearts and decide what is best for all of Minnesota and for all families like mine," said Castro.

Governor Dayton's final words of encouragement were to keep urging lawmakers to vote yes. "Be respectful to them but be persuasive," said Dayton.

Bills to legalize gay marriage passed in House and Senate Committees last month. They could get full House and Senate votes in the next few weeks.