Hundreds of gay marriage supporters packed Minnesota's Capitol rotunda as they start a push for its legalization by the Legislature.
No official count of Thursday's crowd was immediately available, but it appeared to easily exceed 1,000 people. Speakers included DFL lawmakers and religious leaders who say last fall's statewide defeat of a constitutional gay marriage ban cleared the way to repeal the existing state law that bars same-sex couples from marrying.
Governor Mark Dayton restated his support for same-sex marriage rights in his State of the State speech, and DFL legislative leaders have been increasingly open to the prospect of taking up the issue later in the current session.
Gay marriage foes say the ban's defeat doesn't prove widespread support for legalizing it. They plan their own Capitol rally March 7.