The Minnesota House on Thursday
approved a gay marriage bill.
After a roughly a three-hour debate,
representatives, including 4 Republicans, approved the measure with a
75-59 vote. Two Democrats voted against the measure. It was a
dramatic reversal for the chamber which just two years earlier
approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a
heterosexual union. Voters felt differently and rejected the
proposal last November, setting in motion a new push to approve gay
nuptials in Minnesota.
The vote in the House came just days
after the measure received final nods from a House committee on
Monday and a Senate committee on Tuesday.
Rep. Karen Clark, a Democrat and the
bill's sponsor in the House, rose to speak before the chamber voted.
She thanked her partner of 24 years, Jacqueline, for joining her at
the Capitol on such a historic day.
An amendment designed to shore up
Republican support by inserting the word “civil” in front of
marriage and sponsored by Republican David FitzSimmons was adopted
with a voice vote.
“In my mind, it's further reassurance
that it's the state role in marriage and not the religious
institutions we're talking about,” FitzSimmons told the Pioneer
An amendment to abolish marriage in
Minnesota failed by a wide margin (111-22).
Rep. Tim Faust, a previously undecided
Lutheran minister and a Democrat, announced on the floor that he
would vote for the marriage bill.
Faust said that gay people are
“children of God” and “yet they do not have the same rights.”
“Today, we have the opportunity to
give our brothers and sisters the same rights that most of us have
taken for granted,” he told colleagues.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where
its prospects appear bright. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has
previously lobbied lawmakers on behalf of the measure.
If the law is approved, it will take
effect on August 1, the same day that gay and lesbian couples in
Rhode Island can begin marrying.