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Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signs marriage equality bill into law

Marriage equality

By Scottie Thomaston

Crowd at signing ceremony for Minnesota's marriage equality law, photo credit: MN United
Crowd at signing ceremony for Minnesota’s marriage equality law, photo credit: MN United

Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton signed the marriage equality bill late this afternoon; The bill passed the Senate yesterday, 37-30, and it passed the state House last week, 75-59.

Daily Kos has part of Governor Dayton’s remarks:

What a difference a year and an election make in Minnesota! Last year there were concerns that marriage equality would be banned forever. Now, my signature will make it legal in two and one-half months.

First and foremost, I want to thank the people of Minnesota, who voted last year to defeat a very destructive Constitutional Amendment, and also to elect courageous legislators, who would support this monumental social advance.

I want to thank the activists, all of you here tonight and the thousands more throughout our state, who worked so long and so hard to win this extraordinary victory. […]

It is now my honor to sign into law this next step for the State of Minnesota to fulfill its promise to every Minnesotan.

The Huffington Post has additional comments from the lawmakers who attended the signing ceremony.

And earlier today, the Associated Press reported some details on the signing ceremony, highlighting the new law’s impact on its two main sponsors, who are gay:

When Gov. Mark Dayton adds his signature to the bill legalizing gay marriage in Minnesota later Tuesday, its two main sponsors will stand triumphantly beside him admiring the fruits of their long and often demoralizing struggle for gay rights.

Democrats Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Scott Dibble are gay, and Tuesday’s signing ceremony on the state Capitol’s front steps will allow Clark to marry her partner of 24 years in the only state where she’s ever lived.

“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, hours before Dayton planned to make Minnesota the 12th state to legalize gay marriage and the first in the Midwest to do so by a legislative vote.

Their report also notes that the state will begin to issue marriage licenses on August 1, when the law takes effect. Minnesota voters voted down a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality this past November, on the same day that the voters of three other states passed marriage equality into law for the first time. And Minnesota is the third state this month, and the twelfth state to allow same-sex couples to marry in the United States. Illinois could be the thirteenth – the state House has until the end of the month, when the General Assembly adjourns, to vote on the bill and send it to Governor Pat Quinn. Illinois Unites has issued a statement congratulating Minnesota and urging the Illinois House to pass marriage equality.

St. Paul is hosting a post-ceremony celebration and concert.

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