Gay marriage supporters in Minnesota on Friday picked up a key Democratic vote.

Rep. Joe Radinovich, 27, told The Associated Press that he's decided to vote for a proposed bill which seeks to make Minnesota the 11th state to legalize such unions.

Last fall, voters in Radinovich's Brainerd-area district overwhelmingly (62%) voted in favor of an unsuccessful statewide ballot initiative which sought to define marriage as a heterosexual union in the Minnesota Constitution.

Radinovich, who narrowly won his seat by just 323 votes last November, said that he personally supports marriage equality.

“This was not an easy decision, but at the end of the day I'd rather protect my integrity than my job,” Radinovich said. “This is an issue where there are people whose opinions are heartfelt on both sides of the issue, and I don't take that lightly. I certainly have family who feel differently that I do.”

About a dozen House Democrats whose districts overwhelmingly supported last fall's failed referendum have been reluctant to commit to the bill.

One of those Democrats, Rep. Tim Faust, suggested in comments to the Star Tribune last month that he's considering backing the measure. He said that nearly all the arguments against gay nuptials are based on religious beliefs but that many religious leaders are in support.

“Then the question becomes, do we have the right to impose our religious belief on others?” Faust rhetorically asked. “If the reason we are arguing we shouldn't be doing this is because of religious beliefs, it's pretty hard to make that argument.”

The legislation has cleared House and Senate committees and awaits floor votes in both chambers. Votes are expected to take place before the end of the regular session sometime in May.