Minnesota Becomes 12th State to Legalize Gay Marriage

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Gay marriage supporters and opponents rally at the Minnesota capitol building.

Source: Glen Stubbe, “Gay Marriage Debate,” duluthnewstribune.com, May 10, 2013

Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize gay marriage when Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law on May 14, 2013, overturning a legislative ban on gay marriage in force since 1997. The measure had passed the House 75 to 59, and the Senate 37 to 30. The law is scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 1, 2013.

Minnesota is the third state in May 2013 to legalize same-sex marriage. The Governor of Rhode Island signed a bill May 2, and the Governor of Delaware signed a bill on May 7. 

On the day the Minnesota Senate passed the bill, Democratic State Senator Roger Reinert said in a statement: “Fifty years ago, it would be about the color of her skin. One hundred years ago, it would be about her gender. Each time our country reached this decision point it has come out on the right side of history. Expanding rights does nothing to diminish mine. I vote today to give something that is not mine to give. I vote today to recognize for all, the very same desires I have for myself.”

Republican State Senator Torrey Westrom came out against the legislation, stating “I think this is a wrong step in history, a step that we should not be going down. We should affirm what the legislature did in 1997, keep the statute in place and keep mother and father in marriage.” Republican State Senator Dan Hall said “It will threaten religious liberty. Today we may be changing the course of freedom for our children and our grandchildren. Freedom can only be free if we keep our moral compass, if we resolve to strengthen marriage instead of dismantle it.”

The Minnesota legislature passed a bill on May 11, 2011 to place a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot that would ban same-sex marriage. The proposed constitutional amendment was defeated 52 percent to 47 percent on Nov. 6, 2012.

On Mar. 26, 2013, US Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case regarding the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 ballot initiative which banned gay marriage. On Mar. 27, the justices heard oral arguments in United States v. Windsor surrounding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of benefits afforded opposite-sex married couples. The justices are expected to reach a ruling on both cases by July 2013.


Associated Press, “Minnesota Governor Signs Gay Marriage Bill,” foxnews.com, May 14, 2013

Matthew Payne, “Gay Marriage in Minnesota,” online.wsj.com, May 15, 2013

Sofia Perpetua, “Minnesota Now 12th State to Approve Gay Marriage,” usnews.nbcnews.com, May 14, 2013

Warren Richey, “Minnesota Governor Expected to Sign Same-Sex Marriage Bill,” csmonitor.com, May 13, 2013

Warren Richey, “When Minnesota Approves Gay Marriage, Does Supreme Court Listen? Maybe,” csmonitor.com, May 14, 2013