ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has promised gay rights activists he will block Republican efforts to defund anti-bullying efforts in public schools and sees legal gay marriage on the horizon.

The Democratic governor spoke Thursday to about 1,000 people at a rally organized by the state's leading gay rights group, OutFront Minnesota. The group says he is the first governor to address its annual Rally for Equality outside the Capitol.

Dayton supports legalizing gay marriage, but Republican legislative majorities are moving in the opposite direction.

Some GOP lawmakers want a statewide vote in 2012 to amend Minnesota's constitution to ban gay marriage. The Legislature may not take up that issue until next year.

Dayton can't prevent that because governors can't block lawmakers from putting constitutional amendments before voters.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)