The bill would seek voter approval to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The Senate passed the proposal 38-27. One Democrat, Sen. Leroy Stumpf (D-Plummer), joined every Republican in voting to approve the bill.
“It’s a sad and shameful day, and those who voted for this are going to be ashamed of themselves,” said Sen. Scott Dibble (D-Minneapolis). “We’re taking this to the streets, and we’re going to the ballot in 2012. Thirty-one states have passed this thing. It’s not going to be 32.”
Dibble, the only openly gay member of the Minnesota Senate, said he was shocked that his colleagues passed the amendment.
Republicans have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get the issue on the ballot for years. But now, with control of the House and Senate, they can make it happen because they don’t need the approval of Gov. Mark Dayton (D), who strongly opposes the measure.
In Minnesota, the only way to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot is to have both chambers approve it by simple majorities. Such a bill is not subject to a veto or any other action by the governor.
The amendment now goes to a vote in the House, where it is also expected to pass.