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Gay marriage bill wording may change

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The head of the group lobbying for gay marriage at Minnesota's Capitol says he supports changes to the bill that could make it easier for Republicans to support.

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An amendment posted Wednesday from GOP Rep. David Fitzsimmons reframes the wording in Minnesota's marriage law. It would use the term "civil marriage" in all instances, whether couples are of the same or opposite genders.

That's meant to guarantee that religious organizations couldn't be fined, punished or stripped of special status for refusing to perform gay marriages. A religious protection clause had been in the bill, but some Republicans thought it wasn't strong enough.

Minnesotans United head Richard Carlbom calls the amendment a compromise, and says he will urge marriage backers in the House and Senate to support it.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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