Minnesota is poised for a historic day
Monday as the Senate prepares to debate a gay marriage bill.
The House debated the measure on
Thursday for roughly 3 hours before approving it with 75 votes,
including four votes from previously undeclared Republicans. The GOP
support surprised some, including House Speaker Paul Thissen.
House Speaker Paul Thissen: GOP support for gay marriage “hugely
The issue has molded Minnesota politics
like no other in recent times, taking it from blue to red and back
again in 2 years.
In 2010, marriage equality foes
campaigned heavily in the state as Democrats increasingly came out in
support of the issue.
That year, conservative Republican
majorities regained control of the House and Senate and immediately
began pushing for a referendum on a constitutional amendment which
sought to define marriage as a heterosexual union.
Amendment supporters balked when the
GOP rejected broader language aimed at banning recognition of any
union other than marriage, which would have closed the door to civil
unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.
Minnesota voters, in a first, rejected
the amendment last fall and returned the House and Senate to
The stunning rebuke set the stage for a
new push to make Minnesota a marriage equality state.
Supporters say they have the votes in
the Senate to make Minnesota the first Midwestern state to legalize
such unions without judicial intervention.
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.