The state Senate of Minnesota voted 37 to 30 on May 13 to allow same-sex marriages, following earlier passage of the legislation by the state’s House of Representatives on May 9 by a 75-to-59 vote. The legislation changes the definition of marriage in Minnesota from "between a man and a woman" to a civil contract between two persons.
The bill now goes to DFL Governor Mark Dayton, who has indicated he will sign the bill Tuesday evening. Dayton is heir to the Dayton’s Department store fortune, now known as Target Corporation.
Both houses of the Minnesota legislature are dominated by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), which outnumbers Republicans 73 to 61 in the House and 39 to 28 in the Senate. The DFL is affiliated with the national Democratic Party, but has origins in the leftist Populist, Progressive movement that has long been popular in the upper Midwest.
Minnesota becomes the third state in the nation to approve same-sex marriage in May, following Rhode Island and Delaware. It is the second Midwestern state to do so, after Iowa. But Iowa’s status resulted not from a legislative vote, but a 2009 decision by the state’s supreme court.
Demonstrators marched outside the state capitol in St. Paul before the vote, carrying signs against and in favor of the legislation: “Don’t Erase Moms and Dads” and “Marriage Equality, You Betcha.”
“In my heart of hearts, I know that today love wins,” State Senator Tony Lourey (DFL) was quoted by the New York Times.
But State Senator Torrey Westrom, a Republican, asked, “Where does this stop?” This vote, he said, will send Minnesota “down that road of taking mother and father out of our recognition of what our children need.”
The Times also quoted a statement from the Rev. Thomas McCabe, a Catholic priest who stood among the crowd inside the Capitol, who pointed out the obvious: “It’s an objective reality that every baby has a mom and a dad.”
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Photo of crowd cheering in the Minnesota State Capitol as the State Senate approved same-sex marriage: AP Images