Just six months after voters in Minnesota voted to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the state legislature today passed legislation providing equal access to civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples. Once Gov. Mark Dayton signs the bill into law, which he has promised to do, Minnesota becomes the twelfth state with marriage equality and the third state this month to pass marriage equality legislation, following Rhode Island and Delaware.
“Minnesota is a perfect example of the progress we’ve made on marriage equality in America,” said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin. “Voters in Minnesota brought anti-equality efforts to a screeching halt on Election Day, and today state leaders in St. Paul made it clear that all Minnesota families are equal in the eyes of the law.”
A strong majority of Americans support marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, including 70 percent of those born after 1980, according to a recent Pew Poll. Earlier this month Rhode Island and Delaware became the tenth and eleventh states with marriage equality and the first since a series of sweeping victories at the ballot box on Election Day 2012 in Maine, Maryland and Washington. Today over 56 million Americans – 18 percent of the population – live in states that allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The state legislature in Illinois is also presently debating marriage equality legislation.
The passage of marriage equality in Minnesota comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down decisions on two marriage-related cases by the end of June. Hollingsworth v. Perry challenges the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, and United States v. Windsor, challenges the so-called Defense of Marriage Act