The Minnesota House passed a measure today that approves same-sex marriage in the state, by a vote of 75-59. Four of the House’s 61 Republicans voted for it, while two of the 73 Democrats voted against it.
The Senate plans to vote on the bill Monday, and is expected to pass it. Governor Mark Dayton has pledged to sign it into law.
Just six months ago voters defeated an effort to place a ban on same-sex marriage into its constitution.
“My family knew firsthand that same sex couples pay our taxes, we vote, we serve in the military, we take care of our kids and our elders and we run businesses in Minnesota,” said the bill’s sponsor, Reresentative Karen Clark, a Minneapolis Democrat who is gay. “Same-sex couples should be treated fairly under the law, including the freedom to marry the person we love.”
Minnesota will most likely become the 12th state where marriage is legal between same-sex couples, and the first in the Midwest to make it a law.
Because of a 2009 court ruling, Iowa allows marriage, but other states surrounding Minnesota have a constitutional ban on the union.
Among the demonstrators was Grace McBride, 27, a nurse from St. Paul. She said she and her partner felt compelled to be there to watch history unfold. She said she hopes to get married “as soon as I can” if the bill becomes law. The legislation would allow her to do so starting Aug. 1.
“I have thought about my wedding since I was a little girl,” she said.
The Democratically controlled legislature has been watching national opinions change, and in March the measure passed committees in both houses.
In opposition to same sex Marriage, Reverend Steve Goold, of New Hope Church held a morning prayer service and led his congregation to lobby the legislators, telling them is wasn’t too late to change their minds.
“As Americans have had a chance to really talk about who gay people are and why marriage matters, and think about their personal values of fairness, we have grown to a significant national majority in favor of the freedom to marry,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of the national gay rights group Freedom to Marry.
Illinois has a bill pending which would allow same-sex marriage. It passed the Senate on February 14th, but hasn’t been voted on by the full House.
Columnist-The Guardian Express