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Same sex marriage (SSM) in Minnesota

Part 14: 2013-MAY: Senate passes the SSM bill!horizontal rule
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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay

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"SSM" is an acronym for Same Sex Marriage.
"LGBT" is an acronym for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals.
"DFL" is an acronym referring to the Democratic party in Minnesota.

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2013-MAY-13: Senate to vote on their SSM bill:

The City of St. Paul has temporarily renamed its Wabasha Street Bridge as "Freedom to Marry Bridge." The city ia also recognizing 2013-MAY-13 to 17 as "Freedom to Marry Week:"

Photo of the St Paul declaration 1

The Senate dropped their bill, Senate File 925, and accepted House File 1054 as amended. This is the "Freedom to Marry Act" that had been passed by the House on MAY-09. This meant that today's vote would not have to be returned to the House for final vote.

Debate was scheduled to start at noon local time, on Monday, MAY-13. 1

Picture of gravestone 1 Don Lee planted a grave stone surrounded by flowers outside the Capitol building. The inscription reads: "RIP MARRIAGE 2013." He said:

"It is the end of marriage as we know it. You still have the word but you don't have the meaning."

Opponents of marriage equality at the Capitol were greatly outnumbered by its supporters. Lisa Vecoli of Minneapolis was one of the latter. She said:

"I didn't expect it [legalization] to come for a long time."

She had watched the live TV feed from the Minnesota House on MAY-09 with her partner, sobbing with joy when the House passed the bill. She said:

"I will not even try to hold back the tears [today]." 1

Two hours before the debate was to begin, lots of mostly young demonstrators crowded the rotunda of the Capitol building carrying signs saying "I Do," "Freedom to Marry," "Equality Now," "I'm ______ and I support the Freedom to Marry," "Remove the theocracy from the democracy," and signs containing the Human Rights Campaign's equal symbol. A few rainbow flags were in evidence. One man held an Ipad on top of his head, labeled "Marry Us" with two alternating photos of couples who apparently hope to get married. They sang "This Land is my Land," "We're going to the chapel and we're going to get married," and other songs. They chanted "Yes!" repeatedly. They sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" although it was almost interrupted near the end when the words "Land of the Free" were sung.

A small minority of mostly older demonstrators held up "Defend Marriage," "Marriage: One man, one woman," "DON'T ERASE moms and dads," and "Vote No" signs.Adjacent to the rotunda was a group of about twenty individuals opposed to marriage equality. They were on their knees praying, presumably for God's intervention. Pastor Larry Alberts, of the Our Way of the Lord Church in Blaine, was asked whether his side had lost. He replied:

"You can lose a battle and not the war, Minnesota has a destiny. It’s according to the Lord’s plan, not what happens here today." 2

Frame grab from Star Tribune video feed 3

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Senators vote on the SSM bill:

During a debate lasting a little over three hours, Senators presented the familiar arguments for and against marriage equality -- generally in a surprisingly sympathetic, respectrul manner. All of the speakers seemed to be aware of, and humbled by, the major decision they were about to make. The gallery of the Senate chamber was packed. Capitol staff members lined the wall at the back of the Senate chamber.

The Senate sponsor of the bill, Senator Scott Dibble (D), gave a particularly emotional speech that caused Capitol staff behind him to alternately smile and wipe tears from their eyes.

During the debate, Senator Dibble commented on the amendment to the bill that writes the term "civil marriage" into the marriage act. He said:

"This is done to emphasize that our laws and our statutes only pertain to the legal aspects of marriage, maintain that distinction so we can look to the law and know that it does not intrude on religious beliefs and practice. It simply affirms what was already true and has always been true, that the laws that pertain to marriage are laws that only deal with civil matters and don’t reach into private firmly held religious beliefs or practice." 4

The vote was taken at approximately 3:15 PM local time. It was 37 in favor vs. 30 opposed. The bill was passed. Only one Republican voted for the bill; only three Democrats voted against the bill. 5

Dibble said:

"Sometimes the simplest bills are the most powerful in affecting peoples' lives for the better. With just a few words, we have the ability to bring loving families across the entire state of Minnesota into the full sunshine of equality and freedom that they've been denied for so long." 6

The bill lacks only the governor's signature to make Minnesota the 12th state -- and the 13th U.S. political jurisdiction when the District of Columbia is added -- to have achieved marriage equality. He is scheduled to sign the bill into law on the steps of the Capitol building at 5:00 PM local time on MAY-14. For the first time in state history, all loving, committed couples, both opposite-sex and same-sex, will be able to marry the person that they love and to whom they want to make a lifetime commitment. When the bill becomes law about 18% of the U.S. population will live in areas with marriage equality. 4

If all goes according to plan, then three states will have achieved marriage equality during less than a two weeks interval between MAY-02 and MAY-14. The states are Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Rachel Stassen-Berger, "Rainbow flags festoon St. Paul bridge," Star Tribune, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://www.startribune.com/
  2. Doug Grow, "Same-sex marriage: Celebration, anticipation fill Capitol in hours before Senate vote," MinnPost, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://www.minnpost.com/
  3. Frame grab from the live feed by Star Tribune on 2013-MAY-13 at 9:58 local time.
  4. Sara Parnass, "Minnesota Senate Votes to Allow Same-Sex Marriage," ABC News, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  5. James Nord, "Joyful same-sex marriage supporters rally after Minnesota Senate approval." MinnPost, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://www.minnpost.com/
  6. Megan Boldt, "Minnesota Senate passes gay marriage billl Dayton prepares to sign int," Pioneer Press, 2013-MAY-14, at: http://www.twincities.com/

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Copyright © 2013, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2013-MAY-13
Latest update: 2013-MAY-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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