Following passage Thursday in the
House, the Minnesota Senate is expected to debate a gay marriage bill
The House debated the measure for
roughly 3 hours before approving it with 75 votes, including four
votes from previously undeclared Republicans. Fifty-nine House
members, including two Democrats, voted against advancing the bill.
The debate comes two years after
lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a
heterosexual union. However, in a first, voters rejected the
proposal at the ballot box, setting in motion a new push to approve
gay nuptials in Minnesota.
Before House members voted, Rep. Karen
Clark, a Democrat and the bill's champion in the chamber, thanked her
partner of 24 years, Jacqueline, for joining her at the Capitol on
such a historic day.
gay marriage: A victory for Rep. Karen Clark.)
Brian Brown, president of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), said voters should be “outraged”
over the House vote.
“Minnesota voters should be outraged
that they were sold a bill of goods by gay marriage activists last
said in a blog post. “Our opponents filled the airwaves and
spent millions claiming marriage was under no threat in Minnesota.
And yet they lost no time in pushing for the redefinition of marriage
as soon as our marriage protection amendment failed, despite new
polling that shows a majority of Minnesotans oppose redefining
to a recent survey, 51 percent of Minnesotans support marriage
equality, while 47 remain opposed.
Brown added that the House vote should
“serve as a wakeup call” for other states.
“If you do not protect marriage
proactively in your constitutions, the powerful and wealthy gay
marriage lobby will target your state for their next campaign to
change your laws,” he said.
The prospects of passage in the Senate
appear bright and 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.