Despite celebrations gearing up for the legal recognition of equal marriage in the US state of Minnesota, some are commiserating  as an anti-equal marriage campaign group have described it as a “sad day” for the state.

Minnesota for Marriage (MM), an organisation adamantly opposed to equal marriage, released a statement as yesterday the state of Minnesota’s Senate, voted 37-30 in favour of a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. 

Governor Mark Dayton will sign the bill into law on Tuesday at 17:00 local time, and same-sex weddings will begin to take place from 1 August.

The statement from MM started by saying the bill “tramples religious liberty rights of thousands of Minnesotans”.

“Today is an historic and sad day for the state of Minnesota. As a result of years of campaigning by gay ‘marriage’ activists awaiting a time when DFL leadership in the Minnesota legislature and governorship would be ready to champion their cause (contrary to the will of Minnesotans), the Minnesota Senate joined the Minnesota House of Representatives in passing the same-sex ‘marriage’ bill. This bill not only upends our most foundational institution of marriage, redefining it as genderless and declaring mothers and fathers as ‘neutral’ in Minnesota—it also fails to protect the most basic religious liberty rights of those who believe based on their faith that marriage can only be the union of one man and one woman.”

The statement went on to claim that religious liberty is at threat, and that religious people in the state will be called “bigots” and “criminals”, under the new law, despite the fact that it specifically notes that no religious organisation would be made to conduct same-sex weddings against its will.

“Now we are being told that redefining marriage poses no threat to religious liberty—that ‘everything will be ok’—and again, we argue that this is false. Over one million Minnesotans will be forced to either affirm what they believe to be false or subject themselves to prosecution and insult as ‘bigots’ and ‘criminals’ under our law with the passage of this bill.

“Minnesota will be discovering the unintended consequences and sentencing more and more people of faith to prosecution under our laws for years to come as a result of this decision made by a few today.”

Those opposed to the measure said during the debate in the Senate, leading up to the bill, attempted to use the argument that religious freedom was not protected said that it would be “unbearable” for religious organisations having to make a choice, said Senator Paul Gazelka.

Responding to Mr Gazelka, fellow Republican Senator Branden Petersen said he had mis-quoted information, and that the bill, and law as it stood before it was passed, protected religious organisations.

Other members of the US Senate suggested that the religious freedom amendment would allow businesses and organisations to discriminated based on race, as well as sexual orientation.

Ron Latz, asked “aren’t we passed that [kind of discrimination], as a society?”, referring to the amendment, which was defeated before the vote.

On 6 November 2012, voters in Minnesota voted ‘no’ on Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as being a union solely between a man and a woman.