Posted at: 05/09/2013 1:01 PM
Updated at: 05/09/2013 1:02 PM

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Gay Marriage Debate Underway, Civil Union Push Fails

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Debate is underway in Minnesota's House of Representatives on the bill to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota.
 
The House will vote on the bill Thursday but at least several hours of debate are likely. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Karen Clark of Minneapolis, says gay people join all Minnesotans in paying taxes, serving in the military and raising families and they deserve the rights and protections of civil marriage.
 
In a 111-22 vote, an amendment to replace "civil union" with "same sex marriage" failed.
 
Thousands of demonstrators on both sides of the issue are massed outside the House chamber as debate gets underway. Soon after starting, House members approved an amendment from a Republican lawmaker to strengthen protections for religious institutions opposed to gay marriage.
 
If the House passes the bill, it heads next to the Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton says he'll sign the bill.
 
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