Minnesota 12th State to Pass Gay Marriage; Senate Votes 37-30 to Define Institution as Sex-Neutral Union of Two People
Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein , THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Minnesota Legislature became the 12th to pass gay marriage Monday, leaving just a handful of states that have yet to act definitively on the issue.
On a 37-30 vote, the state Senate passed House File 1054, which made marriage a sex-neutral union of two people, rather than a man and a woman. The state House on Thursday passed the bill 75-59.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who urged lawmakers to pass gay marriage earlier this year, said he will sign it as early as Tuesday.
Minnesota's all-but-completed adoption of same-sex marriage follows that of Rhode Island and Delaware, whose lawmakers this month made their states the 10th and 11th to permit such nuptials.
The Minnesota vote also follows a dramatic November election in which voters not only rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but threw out the Republican leadership in both chambers.
Monday's debate before the vote showed deep divisions in the state Senate.
I am proud to cast this vote for the bill, said state Sen. Jim Carlson, a member of the state's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party who said gay friends convinced him that their love relationship was really no different than the love I have for my wife of 40 years.
The bill's purpose is to permit people of the same sex to access civil marriage, which is different from religious marriage, said Democratic state Sen. Ron Latz.
God made gays, and they love who they love, he said. So who are we to quarrel with God's intentions?
But Republican state Sen. Dan D. Hall warned that this document will bring civil disobedience and split churches, schools and communities.
We're nullifying every reference to a faith when it comes to marriage, said Sen. Warren Limmer, one of the Republicans who supported adding a religious-protection amendment to the bill.
I think there's a lot of unintended consequences, said Sen. Torrey N. Westrom, a Republican who worried words such as mother, "father " husban "and"wife" will eventually be stricken from Minnesota laws.
These amendments were defeated, and the bill passed by a comfortable margin. It permits gay marriages to begin Aug. 1.
A festive mood surrounded the State Capitol in St. …