In passionate back-and-forth testimony, the debate over same-sex marriage is playing out in a Minnesota Legislature moving toward the first votes on a bill to legalize it.
Supporters and opponents went one-by-one Tuesday before the House Civil Law Committee, which planned to act on the legislation later in the day.
A Senate committee also planned a vote. If the bills pass, they'll slip below the radar for weeks as the budget takes centers stage.
A final vote on the marriage bills could be months away.
The House panel heard from pastors, doctors, parents, children and couples on both sides of the issue.
Last fall, Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have permanently barred gay marriage. Almost immediately the push to allow same-sex weddings began.
Committees in the Minnesota House and Senate are poised to vote on -- and likely pass -- bills to legalize same-sex marriage today.
The House Civil Law Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee are set to take up the bills, which were the subject of state Capitol rallies on both sides of the issue in recent weeks.
The Associated Press reported last week that Democrats likely had the votes in both committees to pass the bill.
The House committee is set to start its hearing early Tuesday morning, and resume at 6 p.m. The Senate committee begins at noon.
If the bills pass, they'll slip below the radar for weeks as budget negotiations consume legislators' attention. A full vote in both chambers isn't expected until after budget bills have been passed.