The Minnesota state Senate passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage Monday. If the governor signs it, Minnesota will become the 12th state to sanction gay marriage.
Minnesota moved one step closer to becoming the 12th US state to recognize same-sex marriage on Monday when the state Senate voted 37 to 30 to approve a bill establishing equal civil rights to marry for gay men and lesbians.
Cheers flooded the Senate chamber and cascaded through the surrounding halls as word spread of the bill’s passage. Minnesota’s House of Representatives approved the measure last week and Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill into law on Tuesday.
If he does, Minnesota will become the third state this month to legalize same-sex marriage. The governor of Rhode Island signed a bill May 2, and Delaware's governor signed a bill on May 7. In Minnesota, same-sex marriages could begin as early as August 1.
The action there came after 4-1/2 hours of impassioned, heartfelt debate on both sides of the issue.
“I am proud to be a Minnesotan today,” Sen. Scott Dibble, a sponsor of the bill, told his colleagues.
Senator Dibble said he and his partner were married in California in 2008 because no similar option existed in his home state. “Here in Minnesota, Richard and I are legal strangers to each other. How can that be OK?”