2 Weeks, 3 States: Minnesota Becomes the 12th State to Legalize Marriage Equality

Just six months after becoming the first state to reject a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Minnesota is poised to become the twelfth state to legalize it.

A jubilant crowd of supporters erupted into applause as the Minnesota State Senate passed legislation Monday extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. The bill passed the Senate by a 37-30 vote; all but two Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party senators supported the measure, while all Republicans but one opposed it.

The Senate vote came on the heels of last Thursday’s 75-59 vote in the state’s House of Representatives. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will sign the bill into law on Tuesday in a ceremony on the steps of the state capitol; marriage equality will officially become law on August 1.

The bill’s chief sponsor, State Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, spoke movingly during floor debate about his husband, who he married in California in 2008, and said the measure would not change marriage, but expand it.

“We were lucky to be able marry during the narrow window in 2008 when all marriages were legal in California,” Dibble said, reading from a letter to colleagues that he wrote in February. “Our family, who had always been loving and supportive, understood us and had a connection to our relationship in a way that just didnít exist previously. Marriage is simply meaningful in ways that nothing else is.”

Dibble also praised generations of Minnesota activists for same-sex marriage, including the late State Senate President Allan Spear, DFL-Minn., one of the first openly gay legislators in the country, and Richard Baker and Gerald Nelson, who unsuccessfully sued in 1971 for the right to marry.

Senate Republicans tried repeatedly to amend the bill, which would have forced the bill back to the House for further action. The effort included an unsuccessful attempt to allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex married couples. Still, even as the bill’s opponents railed against the legislation, they had to concede that the tide of progress was working against them.

“Some have said, ‘But donít you want to be on the right side of history?’ The truth is Iím more concerned about being on the right side of eternity,” said State Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville.

In an odd way, Hall and other opponents of marriage equality were responsible for today’s historic vote. In 2011, the then-Republican-controlled legislature voted to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot banning same-sex marriage. The move backfired spectacularly; in November of 2012, voters in Minnesota rejected the amendment and swept the GOP out of control in both the House and Senate.

The coalition that successfully beat back the amendment turned its energy to fighting to eliminate the state’s ban on same-sex marriage altogether, pushing their allies in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party to bring the issue to a vote. In February, marriage equality was endorsed by DFL Gov. Dayton; State House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis; and State Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook.

On Monday, Minnesotans United, the organization that successfully fought to stop discrimination from advancing, and then successfully fought to roll it back, was celebrating.

“Nearly two years ago to the day, the Minnesota Legislature put a hurtful amendment on the 2012 ballot that wouldíve permanently excluded same-sex couples and their families from marriage,” the organization said in a statement. “The Minnesota Senate has just taken a historic step towards affirming what we already know to be true: Marriage is about the love, commitment, and responsibility that two people share, and it is time to stop denying that to some Minnesotans just because of who they are.”

Minnesota becomes the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage through legislative means; Iowa previously legalized same-sex marriage through the courts. It is likely to be joined soon by Illinois, where marriage equality has already passed the state senate. Since May 1st, three states — Delaware, Minnesota, and Rhode Island — have legalized same-sex marriage.


Image Credit: Fibonacci Blue


Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Virginia Belder
Virginia Belder4 years ago


ali a.
ali a5 years ago

Some think, by being against things like this they are rewarded and show they are not like that. If the world becomes one thing and someone wants to become something else, there will be some who will object, and that is how people are, So live a healthy life and do good and never mind what other people want to do with their private lives then you are closer to good than bad.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil
Barbara T5 years ago

For those of you who say that "Marriage was ALWAYS between ONE man and ONE woman":
First of all, you are IGNORANT.
You have, obviously, NEVER EVEN READ THE BIBLE. Never read the Old Testament.
And, you have NEVER READ ANY HISTORY. Or any Anthropology. Ever.
Start reading, and inform yourself.
You have heard these statements about Marriage, probably from preachers, teachers, maybe your parents.
Well, these people were FACTUALLY WRONG. They happened to be IGNORANT of the Facts. You may have respected and believed these people. They may have believed they were saying the truth.
But they were not.
That statement would not pass muster as Evidence in a court of Law. Or in a History exam in a properly-accredited college. Or an Anthropology exam. They'd LAUGH at that statement!
The people who taught you, were WRONG. There is no possible way to say they weren't.

Definitions: Polygamy - Marriage between several people. Polygyny - Marriage of one man and several women. Polyandry - Marriage of one woman and several men. {"Poly" means "many"} Ever hear of Mormons? King Solomon? King David?
Early Christianity, as well as many Native American tribes, both past and present, recognized Same-sex Marriages.... this is FACTUAL. Look it up!

Luvenia V.
Luvenia V5 years ago

Doesn't it just drive you crazy that the ONLY so called sins the Right Wing Conservatives wants to fight or keep illegal are the ones they do not practice or I should say practice in PUBLIC. I wonder how they would describe the word equality.

Allan Yorkowitz
.5 years ago

From Minnesota, I'm really plesantly surprised.

Luvenia V.
Luvenia V5 years ago

Robert G., GOD did NOT design Marriage and the history of Marriage would or should shock you into reality. In fact for the most part marriage was NOTHING to be proud of, the marriage license was little more than the deed of a father's property being transferred to the husband and the idea of fidelity was pretty much a JOKE especially for men. Marriage was around LONG before Christianity. YOUR marriage is safe so why do you care, what is wrong with TRUE equality?

I was raised Southern Baptist and I don't remember any place in the Bible that says YOU have the right to tell others how to live, I "THINK" it was called "FREE WILL."

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 5 years ago


Cynthia B.
cynthia l5 years ago

well one state at a time Equality for ALL