St. Paul has a busy day ahead of it with marriage equality on the brink of passing in Minnesota.
Earlier today I passed the Wabasha Bridge, which was temporarily renamed the Freedom to Marry Bridge by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, on my way to the Minnesota State Capitol. Members of the Minnesota Senate have begun debate on the marriage equality bill that has passed the House of Representatives last Thursday. If passed, the bill goes to Governor Mark Dayton who will sign it into law tomorrow. Marriage licenses could be issued starting August 1.
Minnesota will mark the third state to pass marriage equality legislation in the last three weeks. This victory is particularly significant because Minnesota will be the first Midwest state to legalize same-sex marriage through a non-judicial process. Iowa remains the only Midwest state to allow same-sex marriages after a court-ruling in 2009. After the defeat of the anti-marriage constitutional amendment last November, momentum for marriage equality carried the Minnesotans United campaign to this moment.
HRC has contributed resources to pass marriage equality in Minnesota with staff on the ground as well as financial and technical support. Regional Field Organizer Trevor Chandler has been in the state for over a year working on coalition-building efforts. As a result of Trevor’s work, the Minnesotans United coalition has grown to over 700 members. The marriage equality push in Minnesota stands as one of the largest grassroots operations in Minnesota history.