Minnesota: final marriage vote Monday

The Minnesota House voted 75 to 59 Thursday (May 9) to approve a bill to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state. The bill goes to the state Senate on Monday, where supporters feel confident they have the votes to pass it. And Democratic Governor Mark Layton has said he will sign it. If that scenario plays out May 13, Minnesota will become the twelfth state in the nation to approve marriage licenses for same-sex couples –and the third to do so just this month.

Many expected the Illinois House would take its final vote on a marriage equality bill this week, but the vote did not happen, despite Democratic Governor Pat Quinn making a concerted push.

Debate in Minnesota sounded often like debate in Delaware this week. There were the sounds of chants and singing of supporters heard in the hallways outside the chamber. There were several representatives who talked about the “unintended consequences” of allowing marriage for same-sex couples, about the possibility that it would lead to teaching young children in public school about homosexuality, and about the likely infringement on religious beliefs.

Long-time openly gay State Rep. Karen Clark sponsored and led discussion of the bill in the House, telling other representatives of her parents support for her relationship and reminding the House that gay people pay taxes and vote like everyone else.

Rep. Tim Faust (DFL) said he would have voted no on the bill but for the many conversations he had with same-sex couples, many of who quoted from the bible to stand in favor of marriage equality.

“Today we have the opportunity to give a part of our population, fellow brothers and sisters of god, the same rights that most of us have taken for granted since the day we knew what the opposite sex was,” said Faust. “Please vote to give them that right.”

“This is the first time in history that legislation to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples has passed a body of the Minnesota Legislature, and we are deeply grateful to the 75 leaders in Minnesota House of Representatives who listened to their constituents and chose to stand on the side of love and family by voting yes,” said the pro-marriage group Minnesota United. “This is an outstanding day of celebration for thousands of Minnesotans who yearn for the day that they are treated fairly under the law, and we are confident that the Minnesota Senate will approve this bill on Monday. It is time for all Minnesotans to have the freedom to marry they person they love.”

The Minnesota Senate is comprised of 39 Democratic-Farmer-Labor members and 28 Republicans and conservatives. The bill will require 34 votes to pass.

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