Minnesota Becomes 12th State To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

For the third week in a row, we’ve got a new state that has legalized same-sex marriage:

(CNN) – Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriages Tuesday after Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, signed a bill giving same-sex couples the right to marry.

“It’s history,” his Twitter account read, along with a photo of him signing the bill on the Capitol steps. The state Senate on Monday voted 37-30 in favor of approving the legislation.

The bill follows a failed attempt last year to define marriage as between one man and one woman with an amendment to the state constitution.

There are legalization efforts pending in Illinois and Hawaii, but it’s unclear how long it will be before those legislatures act.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Great news! Go Minny!

    As I’ve said here before, the toothpaste isn’t going back in the tube – and if the GOP wants to keep fighting this lost war, they can write off the Millennial vote.

  2. Sejanus says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: I’m wondering which state will be the next to legalize same-sex marriage. I think that the most likely candidates are (not in any particular order):

    1) Illinois
    2) Oregon
    3) California
    4) Nevada
    5) Hawaii

    New Jersey would have also been a great candidate if it hadn’t been for Christie.

  3. Argon says:

    Next thing you know they will allow people to marry lutefisk and hot dishes! Ish!

    I’m crying in my glass of pop.

  4. stonetools says:

    I’ll just note for the record that Minnesota is a state with a Democratic governor, and with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. My prediction is that the next state to approve same sex marriage will be a state with that political profile.Now is this political genius on my part? Hardly. It’s recognizing reality, like 2+2=4.

    The Minnesota Senate voted 37-30 to approve the bill. The Party breakdown? 36 Democrats and 1 Republican voted for, 27 Republicans and three Democrats voted against.

    Only one Republican senator, Branden Petersen of suburban Andover, voted for the bill. Three Democrats from rural districts voted against it.

    Despite hand wringing by Republican fellow travelers whose hearts, I’m sure, are in the right place, it’s clear that if you think gay rights are important, you’ll have to vote for Democrats.If you don’t vote for Democrats, the conclusion that follows is also clear.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Good deal!

  6. Surreal American says:

    I wonder how soon the number of states that allow same-sex marriage will equal or exceed the number of states that have abolished the death penalty.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I think that this article at The American Prospect points to what may be a natural limit on the spread of gay marriage throughout the states: every state that allow same-sex couples to legally marry also includes sexual orientation in its workplace anti-discrimination laws. The logic does seem pretty sound: LGBTs have higher rates of acceptance in polling in states where it is safe to be out of the closet at work. And there is a proven correlation between acceptance of LGBTs and exposure to people you know are LGBT. Since so many of us spend so much of our time at work, that’s one of the places where people being out – or conversely, being afraid to be out in order to protect their jobs – has a big impact on our perceptions of LGBTs.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Illinois has just passed the civil union thing, so it’ll probably be a few years before they decide to allow SSM completely. What’s Wisconsin’s status?

    As more states allow SSM, I wonder if we’re going to see “holdout” states surrounded by a ring of SSM permitting states.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. One of my friends is getting married this summer to her long-term partner in Washington. They’ve already been together for longer than a lot of hetrosexual marriages. I can’t stop grinning.

    (Now just to find them a wedding present…)

  10. stonetools says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    In the absence of a sweeping SCOTUS decision in favor of gay rights (unlikely absent the appointment of a fifth liberal to the Court) the future for gay civil rights and gay marriage is going to look a lot like the Jesusland map. There will be Democratic-controlled Blue America, where gays will have full civil rights and a Republican-dominant Red America, where gays will remain as second class citizens. The Republicans don’t seem persuadable on this, (much to discomfort of moderate Republicans and their fellow travelers the so called “independents”).

    For example, in Virginia ( my home state as that of Doug and James) the election of a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in the state legislature will be dispositive of whether will be gay civil rights and marriage equality in Virginia. If the Democrats win, there will be gay civil rights: if they don’t win, there won’t. It’s a binary choice, which some don’t want to acknowledge.

    Note the wording here: its always “states legalize same sex marriage,” never “Democrats vote to legalize same sex marriage, over Republican opposition, which has been the pattern.

  11. matt bernius says:

    Ok, so we’re about to hit an important inflection point. When the next state approves it, we will be more than halfway to half of all States allowing gay marriage. Once we hit ~20 states allowing it, then things get real interesting really fast on the Federal Level.

    Which gets me to…

    New Jersey would have also been a great candidate if it hadn’t been for Christie.

    Jersey remains the state to watch on this, as I expect that it’s going to tell us a lot about the near-visible future of Republicans and this issue.

    Here are the big questions:
    1. Will the legislature take this up *before* the 2013 Gubernatorial election? (My bet: Republicans will manage to punt on this issue)
    2. If the answer to 1 is no, then how soon after the election will it come up? (My bet is within six months)
    3. When it passes (and it will pass) the legislature, will Christie veto it again?

    I have no idea on the last one one. There’s a chance he might sign it, announcing that he’s rethought his position and that the country has moved on the topic.

    But if Christie’s serious about presidential aspiration, I think he’ll think twice about this unless he things the national party will move on the topic by then.

  12. Tyrell says:

    @stonetools: I was brought up a southern Democrat and in a state that was solid Democrat since the 1860’s. Things started to change a while back and now registration is now running 2:1 Republican with a high percentage young people, surprising!

  13. stonetools says:

    @matt bernius:

    Heh, If the New Jersey Democrats want to play political hardball, they’ll bring up the vote for marriage equality around October 2014. If Christie lets it through, that torpedoes his Republican presidential chances: if he vetoes it, makes the need for a veto proof Republican legislative majority crystal clear. Its win-win.

  14. stonetools says:


    Things started to change a while back

    Again, some nice euphemism. The “while back” for Southern states was universally 1964-the year of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

  15. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @stonetools: The state-by-state LGBT employement discrimination map actually has some surprises in it. But the fact remains that 29 states do not protect all LGB (and sometimes T) employees from being fired, which has ramifications for overall societal awareness. Its easy to hate “teh gays.” Its a lot harder to see Susie in Accounting as a threat to the very existence of your way of life. This is born out in the generational polling on LGBT acceptance.

    [I do not think that you are incorrect about which party supports LGBTs. However, it seems like you think that the progress of civil liberties for LGBTs is dependent upon this sole factor, whereas I strongly feel that there are multiple factors at play.]

  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @stonetools: And, in addition, as a young gay man, I testified at one of the first open hearings that the executive branch of any state had conducted on the circumstances facing LGBT teens in high schools, held on the campus of U Mass Amherst, which resulted in the first state-wide push to impliment Gay/Straight Alliances in public schools.

    This was in the very early 1990s. I must have been 19 or 20, maybe two years out of high school. The initiative occured at the direct behest of the then-Governor of Massachusetts. His name is William Weld. As you may know, he is a Republican. I have voted for many, many, many more Democrats than Republicans over the years (especially since moving to Texas), but you can be damn sure that I voted for Gov. Weld to be re-elected.

  17. stonetools says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    I agree that the movement for gay civil rights is a complex process. But politically in 2013, the choice of who to vote for really is a binary one in most of the country. There maybe a handful of moderate, gay-friendly Republicans out there in blue states. But just about everywhere else in the country a vote for for a Republican is a vote against gay civil rights. This is so even even where they soften the anti gay rights rhetoric as they do in the “border” states such as Virginia. I think we should make this VERY clear, as there are many independents who tell themselves, “I can be pro gay rights and still vote Republican”. In most of the country, you can’t .Let’s not it get it twisted.

  18. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: I have never done this before, but I would really like to know why this comment was downvoted. I don’t see anything objectionable in it, and if one disagrees with the analysis of the American Prospect article, I’d like to know the rationale behind that disagreement.

  19. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @grumpy realist: Wisconsin has a limited-benefit domestic partnership type of status. I am not sure offhand what benefits are included.

  20. Alex says:

    @grumpy realist: On the one hand, Wisconsin was the very first state in the country to pass a state-wide sexual orientation non-discrimination law, way back in 1982. On the other hand, both houses of the state legislature are controlled by Republicans and the Republican governor is so anti-gay-marriage that, as reported in this very blog, he’s in favor of overturning a state law giving same-sex partners hospital visitation rights.