Minnesota gay marriage bill has last legislative step - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Minnesota gay marriage bill has last legislative step

ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The bill to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota is taking its last step in the legislative process later today.

The Senate is scheduled to take up the bill Monday at noon for a debate and vote. The chamber's DFL leaders have said they expect it to pass. If it does, the bill goes to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton who has promised to sign it.

The bill would make same-sex marriage available starting Aug. 1. Minnesota would become the 12th U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.

The House passed the bill last Thursday by a 75-59 vote.

Here's the history behind it all: In 1997, the Minnesota Legislature passed the law that inserted the traditional, male-female definition of marriage into state law.

By 2004, gay marriage opponents launched a multi-year effort to get the Legislature to strengthen Minnesota's existing law against gay marriage by adding it to the state constitution.

And in 2011 republicans had full control of the Legislature and moved the constitutional gay marriage ban to the 2012 statewide ballot.

But the amendment failed on an Election Day and Democrats then had full control of the Legislature.

They've used considerable resources to push legal gay marriage at the Capitol. Which takes us to where we are now.

The vote and debate within the Senate are set for noon today.

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