Minnesota State Senate passes gay marriage bill by a close vote of 37-30

Becomes the 12th state in the US to pass marriage equality

After more than four hours of debate, the Minnesota State Senate passed a bill that will make their state the 12th in the US to make gay marriage legal.

The bill passed by a margin of 37-30.

Minnesota is the first state legislature in the Midwest to pass marriage equality as gay marriages became legal in Iowa through the courts. Governor Mark Dayton will sign the bill into law on the steps of the capitol on Tuesday (14 May).

The senate vote follows passage last week of passage of a marriage equality bill by the House of Representatives and comes just as gay marriage was signed into law in Delaware and became law in Rhode Island.

‘For thousands of families, life will be better – we will be treating people fairly,’ said gay senator Scott Dibble. ‘In so doing, we strengthen ourselves and we strengthen our democracy.’

Senator Roger Reinert’s voice was thick with emotion as he spoke in favor of the bill and shared that his mother reminded him before the vote that she had raised him to be tolerant.

‘I know you’re going to be proud of me today,’ he said to his mother. ‘I vote today to give something that is really not mine to give.’

Other supporters also got personal.

‘My upbringing was that it was not normal to be in a same-sex relationship – that’s what I was taught in church,’ said Senator Charles Wiger who then added: ‘But time changes.’

Arguments against the bill centered were based mostly on religious grounds.

Senator Torrey Westrom said getting rid of ‘long-standing tradition that our state has recognized since creation – that children need a mom and a dad – a male and a female.’

‘I think this is a wrong step in history – a step that we should not be going down,’ Westrom added.

Senator Dan Hall, also opposed to the bill, remarked: ‘There’s a lot of celebrating going on today but there’s also a lot of grieving going on’ and that he was ‘more concerned about being on the right side of eternity’ than on ‘the right side of history.’

Hall said passing marriage equality was ‘opening Pandora’s box’ and alluded to polygamy and ‘devastating repercussions’ that would split towns and counties, hurt businesses, confuse children, and ‘push civil rights back 50 years.’

In response, Senator Ron Latz remarked that some of the comments in opposition to marriage equality from his colleagues were the same used when speaking out against civil rights more than 40 years ago.

‘All you need to do is substitute terms and it would be like reading it out of the congressional record in 1964 and 1965 but on a different topic,’ Latz said.

by Greg Hernandez
Source – Gay Star News