Minnesota to Legalize Gay Marriage, Become 12th U.S. State to Do So

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Minnesota is set to become the 12th U.S. state where gay couples can get married later today. Same-sex marriages will be permitted as of August 1.

MN Celebration

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the bill, which passed the state legislature Monday, at a scheduled a ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Minnesota is now the first state in Midwest to legalize gay marriage by legislative vote, and the third in just 10 days, joining Rhode Island and Delaware.

Thousands of gay marriage supporters thronging the Capitol erupted after the state Senate's 37-30 vote; the House passed it last week on a 75-59 vote.

"Members, God made gays," Sen. Ron Latz, a Democrat from a suburb of Minneapolis, said during the state Senate's emotional four-hour debate.

"And God made gays capable of loving other people."

"So who are we to quarrel with God's intentions?"

The gay marriage issue shifted quickly in Minnesota.

The Legislature's vote came a little more than six months after voters defeated an amendment that would have banned gay marriage in the state constitution.

The groups that led the campaign against the amendment swiftly turned to pushing for legalizing gay marriage, an effort aided by 2012 election results.

Only one Republican senator voted for the bill, while three Democrats from rural districts voted against it. Other than that, it was along party lines.

Republican opponents said the gay marriage bill alters a centuries-old understanding of marriage as a societal building block that benefits children.

"Forcing others to give you your rights will never end well," said Sen. Dan Hall, a Republican and a pastor. "It won't give you the recognition you desire."

Hall said gay marriage supporters tell him he's on the wrong side of history but, "the truth is I'm more concerned about being on the right side of eternity."

But supporters, too, cited religious faith and with relationships with gay family members and friends. Many spoke of the benefits of their own marriages.

Said Sen. Vicki Jensen, a Democrat:

"I could never and I would never deny the kind of recognition and all the other positive things I get out of my marriage with my husband, to anyone else."

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