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Chanting protesters line House hallway over marriage amendment

It’s unlikely lawmakers expected the gantlet they had to walk to get into the House chambers Thursday.

Hundreds of protesters lined the hallway up to the door leading into the House screaming, “Haters! Just vote no!” in response to a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot that would allow voters to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

First, the Republicans trickled in. Some shook their heads; others looked away.

One joked, “It’s good to be loved.”

Next, the DFL members.

“Hip, hip hooray! Hip, hip hooray!" came the chants.

The noise echoed throughout every floor of the Capitol, amid signs reading, “This is the Capitol, not the Cathedral.”

Advocates of the proposal were out in force, too, crowding around the front door of the House chambers.

When Sen. Warren Limmer unveiled the constitutional amendment earlier this month, he said he didn’t think there would be much backlash. Whether or not he was being reserved, he was definitely wrong.

A final vote in the House isn’t yet scheduled, but next year's battle over the 2012 ballot question is expected to draw millions of dollars in outside spending from both sides. It also potentially could alter the course of elections, which will include all 201 legislative seats, the U.S. Senate contest, eight congressional races and the vote for president.

The House Rules committee has to meet before the bill can be heard on the House floor. Minority Leader Paul Thissen said he hadn’t heard if that would occur on Thursday.

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