Rally: Let people vote on gay marriage

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006

By Kari Lucin and Joseph Marks, staff writers

About 300 people from Albert Lea and surrounding communities attended an informational rally in support of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church in Albert Lea.

The rally was designed to encourage the Minnesota Senate to pass an amendment that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. If the Senate passes the amendment, the public would have a chance to vote it into law.

&8220;This was very disillusioning and depressing to me,&8221; said Ted Hinnenkamp, an Albert Lea man who attended the rally but does not support the amendment. &8220;To me the whole issue is blatant discrimination. People should be allowed to marry, whether gay or straight.&8221;

The Rev. Reuben Unseth of Faith Lutheran Church in London was part of a committee &045; three pastors and one lay representative from an Albert Lea Church &045; that helped organize the event, an offshoot of a March 3 meeting between Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, and more than 20 pastors.

&8220;We simply want people to have a chance to vote on that constitutional amendment,&8221; Unseth said. &8220;We want Sen. Sparks to vote to get the legislation out of committte, he has said he would vote for it if it were on the floor of the state Senate.&8221;

Sparks was invited to the event but did not attend.

The state House of Representatives has passed the amendment three separate times.

&8220;I think it should go to the poeple, it’s the only way we can change the constitution,&8221; said Rep. Dan Dorman. &8220;It takes a lot of time to avoid voting, we’ve got stuff to do, let’s bring it to the floor for a vote. That’s what people expect us to do as elected officials.&8221;