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US: Minnesota House appears poised to pass equal marriage bill

Joseph McCormick May 9, 2013
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Minnesota could be the next US state to legalise equal marriage, as its Democratic-controlled House will vote on a measure to legalise it on Thursday, a possible signal that its advocates have gathered enough votes for it to pass.

House Speaker Paul Thissen had said he would not schedule a vote on the bill until he knew it had the necessary 68 votes to pass.

“Over the course of the last few days, I think people are feeling more and more comfortable,” said Thissen on Tuesday.

He said he thought the 68 votes was achievable even if no GOP members voted in favour, however that would require some Democrats to vote for it, who previously voted in favour of the failed state-ban on equal marriage.

On Monday evening, backers of the bill said they had the votes, but did not go further to specify the number they did have in support, reported Pioneer Press.

Advocates of the measure also hope that it will soon go through the Senate, and leaders there also said they had gathered enough votes to pass the bill.

It was scheduled for a last-minute hearing on Tuesday to be considered by the Senate Finance Committee, which will look at the fiscal impacts of legalising same-sex marriage. If it passes in the House, it will go to the Senate floor for a vote on Monday.

Both those in support and opposition to equal marriage have been putting increasing pressure on lawmakers to publicly reveal which way they intend to vote on the measure.

Minnesota State Senate members on the Judiciary Committee, as well as the Civil Law Committee in the House, in March passed the equal marriage bill.

After hearing almost three hours of testimony, the Senate committee passed the bill 5 votes to 3, along party lines, and the House committee voted voted 10 to 7 for the bill.

In November 2012, Minnesotan voters avoided a constitutional ban on marriage equality, and pro-equality campaigners have since stepped up efforts to push for equal marriage to be legalised. 

A group opposed to equal marriage in the state has pledged half a million dollars to defeat any Republican legislator voting to legalise marriage equality.

On 6 November, 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.

WashingtonMaine and Maryland legalised equal marriage in referendums in those states on the same day.

Yesterday, lawmakers in the US state of Delaware voted 12 to 9 in favour of a bill to legalise equal marriage on Tuesday, making the Diamond State the 11th to allow same-sex marriage, after Governor Jack Markell signed it into law.

The US state of Rhode Island last Thursday became the tenth state to allow equal marriage, as its Governor signed the bill into law, after it passed a second vote in the House by a very wide margin.

More: Americas, Civil partnerships, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, US, wedding

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