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Get Ready For Round 2 Of The Same-Sex Marriage Debate

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- After one of the most divisive, costly campaigns Minnesota has ever seen, it appears the second round of the same-sex marriage debate is on.

This time, it'll take place in the state Legislature.

During Wednesday's State of the State address, Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants Minnesota to be a state where no one is told it's illegal to marry the person they love.

"I believe every Minnesotan should have the right to legally marry the person he or she loves, whether the same or other sex," he said in his address.

During last year's same-sex marriage amendment campaigns, both sides not only raised millions of dollars, they also built up huge amounts grassroots support. Now, those groups are using that support to turn what was a campaign of the people into a campaign to the legislators.

This could shape up to be a big legislative battle this spring, aanalysts say.

"I think the real question is: Are there enough DFL legislators in the House and Senate to pass same-sex marriage," said Kathryn Pearson, a University of Minnesota political science professor.

Over the next few months, senators and representatives will hear a lot about same-sex marriage.

The supporters of same-sex marriage say they feel confident they'll have the numbers to pass legislation legalizing same sex-marriage.

"We've been seeing momentum around the state just out of control, almost overwhelming," said Jake Loesch of Minnesotans United for All Families. "Now, we're really harnessing that."

But those who oppose it say they are reaching out across the state as well. They say last year's defeat was more about opposition to changing the state's constitution than it was about support for same-sex marriage.

"Just because the marriage amendment was defeated does not mean that Minnesotans want to change the definition of marriage," said Autumn Leva of Minnesota for Marriage.

Sen. Scott Dribble (D-Minneapolis) says he plans on introducing legislation into the Senate in the next two or three weeks. But it's unlikely they'll get to it, he says, until after the budget is settled.

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