ST. PAUL, Minn., May 21 (UPI) -- Protesters greeted Minnesota legislators Saturday morning, a day after a pastor's invocation shocked the chamber and heated up the gay-marriage debate.
Opponents of a proposed state constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage chanted "Just Vote No!" as Republicans filed into the House chamber in St. Paul, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported.
Taina Maki of Minneapolis shook hands with GOP Speaker Kurt Zellers, a sponsor of the measure. "I just wanted him to look me in the eye, and acknowledge me as a human being," she said.
Friday's session opened on a jarring note from the Rev. Bradlee Dean. He closed his prayer invoking Jesus Christ as the "head of the denomination ... as every president up until 2008 has acknowledged" -- implying President Barack Obama is not a Christian.
Dean denies being "anti-gay" but has said homosexuals should be imprisoned for sodomy.
As members erupted in outrage, a shaken Zellers went to the floor and promised: "That type of person will never, ever be allowed on the House floor again."
Later he said: "I take responsibility for this mistake. ... I denounce him, his actions and his words."
Dean was not sorry.
"I said a prayer. If a prayer starts a firestorm, so be it," he said.