The Minnesota Senate legalized gay marriage Monday in a historic 37-30 vote.
Before Monday’s vote, Mayor Chris Coleman “proclaimed ‘Freedom to Marry Week’ in St. Paul” and “renamed a downtown bridge the ‘Freedom to Marry Bridge’” via Twitter. Rainbow flags symbolizing gay pride were raised along the Wabasha Street Bridge in St. Paul after the mayor’s statement. Thousands of people demonstrated in the State Capitol Rotunda while the Senators voted, with supporters outnumbering opponents.
Three members of the Democratic Farmer Labor party voted against the measure, and one Republican, Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover voted for it. Sen. Petersen is the first legislative Republican to “publicly declare his support” for same-sex marriage.
Opponents were still hoping in the last minutes that the bill would fail. “Some people have said that they are concerned about being on the right side of history,” said Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, in an interview with the Star Tribune. “I am more concerned about being on the right side of eternity.” Hall continues to oppose the bill, saying he had prayed for it not to pass the senate.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will sign the measure Tuesday at 5pm on the Capitol Steps according to The Associated Press. Once signed, Minnesota will become the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage, and “the first state to make gay marriage legal via a legislative vote.” There will be an outdoor “Love is Law” concert in the St. Paul downtown plaza after the signing.
In the final debate, Sen. Petersen sent a message to his children: “Be bold and be courageous and you will never regret a day in your life.”
Weddings could start as early as August 1st of this year.
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.