Minnesota Becomes 12th US State with Equal Marriage Laws

Minnesota becomes the 12th state in the US to adopt marriage equality into law today, just six months after voters defeated a constitutional amendment to define marriage heterosexually. In both campaigns, Catholic advocates and opponents played a central role in shaping the marriage equality conversation.

After a successful House vote last week, the Senate voted 37-30 yesterday to pass the bill. Legislators now send the bill to Governor Mark Dayton who is expected to sign it this afternoon. The New York Times reports on the victory, and turnaround, in Minnesota:

“In a way, Monday’s vote was a startling shift in the conversation in this state. For much of 2012, Minnesotans had been debating an amendment to the state Constitution that would have done the opposite — define marriage as between a man and a woman…Minnesotans in November rejected the amendment and sent majorities of Democrats to both chambers of the State Legislature, setting off an intense new push to legalize same-sex marriage.

“‘That whole constitutional amendment backfired on them,’ Amy Britain, 46, said Monday…She said it proved that Minnesotans, like many Americans, had changed their views on marriage.”

via Bondings 2.0.

There is huge poetic justice in this Minnesota decision. Not content with a state law that prohibited gay marriage, the Republicans who controlled the state legislature, with Catholic bishops acting as cheerleaders and financial backers, insisted on attempting to write discrimination into the state confusion, sowing immense hurt and division along the way – including between state Catholic communities.

This will have been part of the mood that led to the Repubs losing control of the state legislatures in November, while the success of the long hard slog over several years to resist the constitutional ban, will have given supporters of equality and inclusion the confidence to proceed with the current legislation.

Now that equality is well on the way, I see that a GOP legislator was in tears, insisting that she’s upset at the “divisions” this has caused. Can she not see that it was her own caucus that began to divide the people of Minnesota in the first place? (No need to answer).

But to balance the crocodile tears of Republicans lamenting the “divisions” that this legislation has allegedly caused, there have also been more appropriate, copious tears of joy at the end of divisions and inequality in marriage law. And since the passage in the House described by Bob Shine, the Senate has done it’s bit too. All that is still required is the governor’s signature, which is due to be in place later this afternoon.

Congratulations Minnesota


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