Minnesota Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill, Governor Will Sign Tuesday

Minnesota’s state Senate passed a bill on Monday to allow same sex couples to get married. The bill, which passed 37-30 in the House, is expected by be signed by the governor.

The bill would make Minnesota the 12th US state to allow gay marriage and just the second in the Midwest. The bill was passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, putting Minnesota on the verge of becoming the third state to approve same-sex marriage in May.

The Minnesota House approved the bill last week and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has already pledged to sign it. Once that happens, the law is expected to take effect on August 1.

Once the bill is signed, Minnesota will join Iowa as the only Midwestern states to permit gay marriage. It will be the first to do so through legislation. Iowa has allowed same-sex nuptials since a state Supreme Court order in 2009.

Of the two legislative bodies, the Minnesota House was expected to be the biggest hurdle to passing the bill. However, representatives carried out a 75-59 vote on Thursday, including some support from Republicans.

Thursday’s vote was a drastic change from two years ago, when Republicans controlled both legislative bodies. They bypassed the governor and put forward a ballot measure that would have banned gay marriage in the state’s constitution.

But Minnesota voters rejected the measure in November, while voting in Democratic majorities to both the House and the Senate. The change helped the legislature on the path to Monday’s historic vote.

Minnesota’s vote to approve gay marriage on Monday was the latest in a series of victories for gay marriage proponents, which started in November when Maine, Maryland, and Washington state approved same-sex marriage. The three states were the first to do so at the ballot box. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and most recently in Rhode Island and Delaware. The District of Columbia also legalized gay marriage.

Governor Dayton is expected to sign Minnesota’s gay marriage bill on Tuesday.

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