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Pastor's words shock Minnesota House

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.

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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."

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Dean was not sorry.

"I said a prayer. If a prayer starts a firestorm, so be it," he said.

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