MN House, Senate panels pass gay marriage bills - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

MN House, Senate panels pass gay marriage bills

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota House and Senate lawmakers have given crucial victories to supporters of same-sex marriage.

The House Civil Law Committee passed a bill to legalize gay marriage Tuesday night on a 10-7 party-line vote, with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill earlier Tuesday.

It was the first time state legislative committees have backed marriage rights for gay couples. The bills now head to the floor, where a final vote is not expected until much later in session.

The Democratic-led Legislature is pressing ahead with the marriage bill after voters defeated a constitutional amendment last November that would have fortified an existing ban on same-sex marriage. Gov. Mark Dayton says he will sign the bill if it reaches him.

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