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Gay marriage debate turns to civil unions

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ST. PAUL — Civil unions would give gay couples the same rights as married couples, says the sponsor of a Minnesota House proposal that is a step short of full marriage.

“Government’s role is to protect the individual,” Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, said Wednesday, adding that a bill authorizing civil unions he is introducing today would do just that.

Gay marriage advocates immediately said the bill would create legal inequalities between gay and straight couples.

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