ST. PAUL (AP) - A group of Republican lawmakers are calling for the defeat of a bill to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota.

The gay marriage bill was unveiled Wednesday at the Capitol. Its backers say last fall's defeat of a constitutional gay marriage ban shows the state is ready for gay marriages.

But Republicans say voters only rejected putting the ban in the constitution, and that it shouldn't be seen as an endorsement of gay marriage. About 15 GOP lawmakers gathered for a press conference against the bill.

State Senator John Pederson of St. Cloud was not at the news conference.  He says he hasn't read the bill yet, but he likely will not support it.

State Representative Tim O'Driscoll of Sartell also did not attend the news conference.  He says the fear of not putting the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman into the state constitution is coming true, with the marriage amendment question failing last November.  He says he wants to stay focused on the budget.

State Representative Jeff Howe of Rockville says he's not in favor of changing the definition of marriage in Minnesota.  However, he says he would be open to the idea of something like civil unions for same sex couples.

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe says it's a "lie" to argue that being gay is a choice. Sen. Dan Hall, a pastor, says he'd go to jail before marrying a gay couple. But the bill has an exemption that no church would be forced to perform gay weddings.