Minnesota poised to become 12th state to adopt same-sex marriage

ST. PAUL, Minnesota Mon May 13, 2013 8:21am EDT

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton speaks to media after signing bills to eliminate the state's $5 billion budget deficit and reopen state government and services that have been shut down for three weeks, in St. Paul, July 20, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Miller

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton speaks to media after signing bills to eliminate the state's $5 billion budget deficit and reopen state government and services that have been shut down for three weeks, in St. Paul, July 20, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Miller

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Reuters) - The Minnesota Senate is expected to give final approval on Monday to a bill that would make the state the 12th in the United States to allow same-sex couples to marry and only the second in the Midwest.

Leaders in the Senate, where Democrats hold a 39-28 majority, have said they believe they have the support to approve a bill legalizing gay marriage. They set a vote for Monday on the measure that members of the state House approved last week.

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has said he would sign the bill, which would make Minnesota the third state this month to legalize gay marriage after Rhode Island and Delaware. The law would take effect August 1.

Minnesota would join Iowa as the only other Midwestern state to permit gay marriage and the first to do so through legislation. Iowa has permitted same-sex marriage since 2009 under a state Supreme Court order.

The Minnesota House had been expected to be the bigger hurdle, but representatives voted 75-59 on Thursday to approve a bill with some Republican support.

The measure has at least one Republican sponsor in the Senate.

Senator Scott Dibble, the bill's architect, has said the stronger-than-expected vote from representatives was very encouraging and urged same-sex marriage supporters to continue active lobbying for the bill right up to Monday's vote.

Hundreds of supporters and opponents of the proposal to legalize same-sex marriage demonstrated at the Capitol on Thursday. A similar atmosphere was expected on Monday.

The vote on Thursday was a sharp reversal for Minnesota's legislature. Two years ago, Republicans controlled both chambers and bypassed the governor to put forward a ballot measure that would have made the state's current ban on gay marriage part of the state constitution.

Minnesota voters in November rejected that measure and also voted in Democratic majorities in both the state House and Senate, setting the legislature on the path toward Monday's vote.

Republican Senator Warren Limmer, a sponsor of the proposed amendment two years ago, has said the legislation will change how businesses work, clergy speak from the pulpit and school curriculums are shaped.

"Prior to the marriage amendment (vote) in November, many people were warning that this day would come," Limmer said in an interview last week.

Opponents of the bill have questioned whether the rights of religious groups and individuals who believe marriage should be only between one man and one woman would be protected. They also questioned the speed with which the measure was being approved.

Over several years, voters in more than two dozen states approved state constitutional provisions that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But in the past year, gay rights advocates won a series of victories.

In November, Maine, Maryland and Washington state became the first states to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box.

Same-sex marriage is also legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. The District of Columbia also has legalized same-sex marriage.

Illinois state senators approved a bill in February, but the measure has not been voted on in the full House.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Philip Barbara)

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Comments (13)
susette wrote:
Explain to me where state’s rights are divided against the fed when it comes to this law. If the state approves it, does that give the couple rights in al states as a married couple, with privleges of inheritance and so forth? Or only recognized rights of the state in which they are married? If the state allows the couple legal rights, does the fed have the right to revoke? Or deny? The marriage thing has many implications-taxes, end of life, property, obligations. I am still not able to understand. It reminds me of the old confederate argument over slavery. The fed denied the south and any other state to lawfully own slaves. So in the states who had slaves, it was expected they were actually free. But that wasn’t how it actually worked. States rights v. Gov. Hmmm… There has to be a solution.

May 13, 2013 6:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dalmane wrote:
Party agenda, rather than the wishes of the people.

May 13, 2013 7:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gregbrew56 wrote:
“Opponents of the bill have questioned whether the rights of religious groups and individuals who believe marriage should be only between one man and one woman would be protected.”

Believe what you wish, and marry only one person of the opposite gender. No one is stopping you, and your beliefs are protected.

Just don’t try to impose your dogmatic belief system on the rest of the population that wishes to join the 21st century.

May 13, 2013 10:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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