Mark_kruzanThirteen gay and lesbian couples have taken symbolic wedding vows in American city of Bloomington during a ceremony staged to protest a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana.

The couples held hands on a stage, awaiting Mayor Mark Kruzan‘s words during Thursday’s event that was part of the opening ceremonies for a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival.

The mayor told the couples, “By the power not yet invested in me by the state of Indiana, I pronounce you partners in life.” The Herald-Times and The Indianapolis Star report that Kruzan and 10 Monroe County Council and Bloomington city council members then threw flowers onto the couples.

Indiana lawmakers approved a constitutional gay marriage ban in 2011, but it must be approved again and pass a referendum before taking effect.

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