Saint Paul, MN -
The Minnesota Senate approved a marriage equality bill on Monday by a 37-30 vote, making Minnesota the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
The House passed the bill last Thursday by a 75-59 vote. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has promised to sign it as early as Tuesday.
Minnesota becomes the first Midwestern state to legalize such unions without judicial intervention. Iowa has allowed same-sex marriages since a 2009 court ruling.
The new law will take effect on August 1, the same day that gay and lesbian couples in Rhode Island can begin marrying.Equality Illinois: It's time for Illinois to pass the marriage bill
"It is our time," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters. "Gay and lesbian couples in Illinois and their families deserve to be recognized. If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June, as expected, and Illinois doesn't recognize the freedom to marry now, then Illinois families will be further harmed."