In an historic vote, Minnesota has become the latest state to approve equal marriage. Today's vote in the state senate means that Minnesota will join 11 states and the District of Columbia to allow same-sex marriage.
The Senate vote of 37-30 came four days after the House passed the bill on a 75-59 vote. When the tally was announced after more than four hours of debate, a huge cheer erupted in the chamber and gallery, where spectators stood and applauded. Minnesota will become the first state in the Midwest to make gay marriage legal via a legislative vote. Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 through a court ruling.
Last week, Dayton, a Democrat, called the bill "one of those society-changing breakthrough moments." His staff scheduled a signing ceremony for 5 p.m. Tuesday on the Capitol steps.
It's a rapid turnaround for gay marriage supporters, who just six months ago had to organize a massive effort to defeat a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage. The groups who defeated the amendment quickly turned their attention to legalizing gay marriage, and their efforts were aided by Democrats capturing full control of state government in November.
Three Democrats voted against the bill. One Republican voted yes.
Minnesota joins Delaware and Rhode Island to becomes the third state to approve marriage equality in the last two weeks. Minnesota and Rhode Island's laws become effective August 1.
Take that, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty!