Victory in Minnesota: MN becomes 12th state to approve the freedom to marry

Today, the Minnesota Senate took a final vote on a bill to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, making Minnesota poised to become the 12th state to approve the freedom to marry.

By a vote of 37 to 30, the members of the Minnesota Senate stood on the Right Side of History by voting in favor of the marriage bill, following up on a decisive win in the House of Representatives on May 9. Governor Mark Dayton, a vocal proponent of the freedom to marry is expected to sign the bill into law tomorrow at 5pm. The first weddings for same-sex couples would take place on August 1, 2013. 

It's been quite a journey for the freedom to marry in Minnesota over the past several years. In 2012, Minnesota became the first state in the country to reject an anti-gay, anti-marriage constitutional amendment that would have permanently restricted marriage to different-sex couples. During the November 2012 election, voters rejected the amendment, and now, just six months later, the Minnesota legislature is moving marriage forward by approving a bill to forever end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. 

Thalia Zepatos, the Director of Public Engagement at Freedom to Marry and a key advisor to Minnesotans United for All Families, the coalition working toward a marriage bill this year, applauded the Senate's move today and celebrated Minnesota's jubilant turnaround. She said:

After last week's strong showing of support, legislators finished the job today, standing up for fairness and dignity for all Minnesota families. Coming on the heels of victories in Rhode Island and Delaware, this win for marriage shows that the freedom to marry is a value that Americans across the country stand behind. Freedom to Marry is proud to have helped create Minnesotans United for All Families, whose work to shore up legislative support - not to mention fending off an anti-gay amendment in last fall - makes the whole movement proud.

Throughout the journey in the past two years, Minnesotans United for All Families, the robust coalition of civil rights organizations, faith leaders, and businesses, has been there every step of the way, speaking with Minnesotans about why marriage matters, sharing the stories of loving and committed same-sex couples, and talking about how marriage discrimination hurts in the state. Freedom to Marry is proud to be a founding member and the leading funder for the coalition, prioritizing the campaign beginning in 2010 by investing $2.3 million total in the fight and providing strategic and messaging guidance and conducting the public education campaign throughout the state.  

Richard Carlbom, the Campaign Manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, celebrated today's huge victory, too. He said:

Freedom to Marry has been an indispensable partner in this fight - from our victory at the ballot box in November to the Legislature's stand for fairness today. So many Minnesotans have waited a long time for this joyful day, and Minnesotans United could not be more proud to have worked with Freedom to Marry to make it a reality.  

Minnesota was one of six key states included in Freedom to Marry's Win More States Fund this year. You can support the campaign in Minnesota by donating HERE

In 2013, we have won the freedom to marry in three states: Rhode Island, Delaware, and now Minnesota. Soon, same-sex couples will be able to marry in 12 states in our country: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington - plus the District of Columbia.