Minnesota House Approves Marriage Equality

Jim Burroway

May 9th, 2013

Opponents and supporters of marriage equality rally outside the House chamber. (Glen Stubbe/Star-Tribune)

Following three hours of debate, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF1054, a bill which grants marriage equality for same-sex couples. The tally had been expected to be close with no Republican support in the DFL-controlled legislature (DFL: Democratic, Farm, Labor, what the Minnesota Democratic party calls itself). But in the end, David FitzSimmons (R-Albertville), Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), Andrea Kieffer (R-Woodbury) and Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) joined seventy-one DFLers to pass the bill with a vote of 75-59. None of the Republicans had declared their support before the debate. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Loon says she decided during the debate. Garofalo and FitzSimmons say an amendment to fortify religious protections was key. Kieffer was unavailable for comment.

The two DFLers against the marriage bill were Patti Fritz of Faribault and Mary Sawatzky of Willmar. Both come from districts that heavily supported a gay marriage ban.

A good chunk of the three hour debate dealt with an amendment offered by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) which would have converted the entire bill into a civil unions bill. That amendment was rejected 22-111. Another amendment proposed by FitzSimmons which added the word “civil” before the word “marriage” wherever it appeared in the Minnesota statutes. That amendment passed on a voice vote, which brought FitzSimmons and Garofalo on board.

Observers had expected that the marriage bill would have had a tougher time passing the House than the Senate. But with that hurdle out of the way, the bill is now expected to be approved by the Senate soon, perhaps as early as Monday. Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) has promised to sign the bill if it reaches his desk. The bill would go into effect August 1.

Minnesota is poised to become the twelfth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples. It will also become the first state in the Midwest to do so as the result of a legislature initiative.


May 9th, 2013

And here in Illinois, the Cricket Philharmonic Orchestra continues to chirp away…

Joseph Singer

May 9th, 2013

Technically, Minnesota is not the first mid-western state with marriage equality. That honor goes to Iowa.


The mid-west states are North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.


May 9th, 2013

Yes, but it says because of legislative action, which Iowa wasn’t.


May 9th, 2013

As an aside:


Timothy Kincaid

May 10th, 2013

So if this passes, the state of Minnesota will offer only ‘civil marriage’.

Frankly, I think that’s great. I believe that what you and your church do is up to you and your church. But the government offers only one type: civil marriage.

I seem to recall some similar effort in California but if I’m correct, the conservatives opposed it. How odd that now it gives enough cover for Republicanns to support equality.

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