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Minnesota

BREAKING: Minn. governor signs marriage equality bill — ‘Love is the law’

Signing ceremony kicks off parade, massive celebration in downtown St. Paul
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Governor Mark Dayton has signed the state’s marriage equality bill into law, making Minnesota the 12th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Gov. Mark DaytonPhotos by Jim Mone, AP

“What a day for Minnesota!” Dayton, a Democrat, declared moments before putting his signature on a bill. “And what a difference a year and an election can make in our state.”

An estimated 6,000 cheering spectators filled the south lawn of the state Capitol for the outdoor ceremony, with rainbow and American flags fluttering in a sweltering breeze, while Dayton thanked legislators for their political courage before signing the bill.

“By your political courage, you join that pantheon of exceptional leaders who did something extraordinary,” Dayton said. “You changed the course of history for our state and our nation.”

Dayton’s signature on the bill ended an intense two years for gay marriage supporters and opponents in this Midwestern state, which swung from a failed push to constitutionally ban same-sex weddings into a successful bid to becoming the 12th state to affirm them.

Watching over Dayton’s shoulder as he signed the bill were the measure’s two chief sponsors, Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Scott Dibble. For them, it was vindication for a long and sometimes demoralizing struggle for gay rights.

“I thought it would happen someday, but I didn’t know I would be able to be here to be part of it,” Clark said Tuesday, a few hours before the ceremony. Clark can now marry her partner of 24 years, in the only state she’s ever lived.

The ceremony comes less than 24 hours after the state Senate on Monday approved the measure by a vote of 37-30, and five days after the House passed the bill on a 75-59 vote.

Tuesday evening’s signing ceremony kicks off a massive celebration in downtown St. Paul entitled “Love is the Law,” which begins with a parade that will lead supporters from the Capitol building through a route that has been lined with rainbow flags for the event.

The historic day in Minnesota is a rapid turnaround for gay marriage supporters, who last year organized a massive effort to defeat a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.

The groups who defeated the amendment quickly turned their attention to legalizing marriage equality, and their efforts were aided when Democrats captured full control of the state government in November.

Minnesota will become the first state in the Midwest to legalize gay marriage by legislative vote, and the third nationwide in just 10 days, joining Rhode Island and Delaware.

Under the legislation, gay couples will be able to get married starting on Aug. 1.

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36 more reader comments:

  1. Awesome! Well done Gov Dayton!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:10pm
  2. Thank you!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:10pm
  3. This is late! I knew this yesterday! WOOHOO!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:11pm
  4. Amen! Welcome, Minnesota, to treating your folks with equal rights……

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:11pm
  5. Woohooooo!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:11pm
  6. Follow the leader! Maine says Congrats!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:11pm
  7. YES, thank you soooooooo much.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:12pm
  8. yes, but he just signed it into law today.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:12pm
  9. And Illinois keeps dragging along. mark Twains city has turned into an old lady with sagging shoulders.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:13pm
  10. Lets hope in the next year the number will be even closer to equality fr all in this USA!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:16pm
  11. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Congrats, everyone!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:17pm
  12. awesome… an other one !!!!! Hopefully other states will follow soon enough

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:17pm
  13. Congrats, Minnites!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:17pm
  14. Try…try Virginia to crawl out of the dark ages. Put your Old Testaments and guns down for a second and stop hating your gay neighbors.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:18pm
  15. It was 98 degrees today – but the crowds at the capitol are enormous!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:18pm
  16. Congratulations from Melbourne, Australia. May our own country follow your lead. Cheers :)

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:18pm
  17. #epic:)

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:23pm
  18. Amen!!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:26pm
  19. Yes, oh yessy yess yes.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:27pm
  20. Honestly, we were already pretty far, what with the human rights bill in 1993 and such. It was only a matter of time.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:29pm
  21. THANK YOU governor!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:29pm
  22. Tallyn, I grew up in Kansas, in the 70′s and 60′s, this is nothing short of a miracle for people in their 40′s and 50′s…..seriously.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:30pm
  23. Yes!!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:31pm
  24. I must say, I am so grateful and PROUD to be alive to witness the amazing major accomplishments and changes that have been made within Gay/Human Rights in my life (the last 25 yrs).. All of the people who have stood up, made their voices heard, not stood down for fear of being rejected for being a homosexual/trans person.. THANK YOU..Thank you all for everything, for being YOU no matter WHAT so that one day it would be KNOWN that we are who we are and that is NOT gonna change and we are not going anywhere!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:43pm
  25. Thank you governor for giving everyone equal rights. God Bless You.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:44pm
  26. Oh no, I totally understand. :p

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:48pm
  27. Thank you for signing the equality

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 3:52pm
  28. glad to be in minnesota right now, such a monumental day :)

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 4:03pm
  29. Good Job Minnesota! Grandma Kay Jean McDonald

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 4:13pm
  30. Thank You Governor! :)

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 4:19pm
  31. Is Michelle Bachman packing up and leaving yet?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 4:51pm
  32. has Bachman left the state yet?????????

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 4:58pm
  33. Yay!!!! :D

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 6:03pm
  34. Now if Ohio would just join in!!

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 6:36pm
  35. Hooray!! When is the rest of the country going to join in and give us the equality we deserve?!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 8:17am
  36. I know, right! Proud to be a Minnesotan <3

    Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 1:52pm