Minnesota Senate approves gay marriage bill

Mon. May 13, 2013 5:15 PM by Carlos Santoscoy

Saint Paul, MN - The Minnesota Senate on Monday approved a gay marriage bill, paving the way for Minnesota to become the 12th state to legalize such unions.

After a roughly four-hour debate, the Senate approved the measure with a 37-30 vote, four days after the Minnesota House approved the measure. It was a dramatic reversal for the chamber which just two years earlier approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union. Voters felt differently and rejected the proposal last November, setting in motion a new push to approve gay nuptials in Minnesota.

Senator D. Scott Dibble, a Democrat and the bill's champion in the chamber, opened the debate by walking through the bill's provisions.

Two Republican senators, Paul E. Gazelka and Warren Limmer, who strongly backed last fall's unsuccessful attempt to constitutionally prohibit such unions, introduced an amendment to the bill expanding its religious exemptions to private citizens and businesses.

Dibble, who in 2008 married his husband Richard Leyva in California, argued against the amendment, saying its unconstitutionality would sink the entire measure.

The amendment failed by a 41-26 margin.

A second amendment introduced by Republican Senator Torrey Westrom sought to preserve gendered language in civil law for all couples. It failed with a 36-31 vote.

Republican Senator Dan Hall urged senators to reject the bill, saying that "homosexual marriage" will hurt children and lead to greater "indoctrination." He added that he would rather be on the "right side of eternity" than the "right side of history."

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the bill into law.

The law is expected to take effect on August 1, the same day that gay and lesbian couples in Rhode Island can begin marrying in that state.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine