|ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -|
The Minnesota Senate approved the Freedom to Marry Act on Monday, just days after the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota passed the House on a 75-59 vote.
The historic legislation passed by a vote of 37-30, and it was greeted by loud cheers from supporters who had gathered in the Capitol rotunda.
"I actually said, 'I want a picture of me with the score board,' the voting board in the background because it's such an historic day," said Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul). "It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."
The debate began at noon, and after three and a half hours, lawmakers moved to their final speeches. When they did, the crowds of supporters and opponents inside the Capitol began to cheer.
Their voices could be heard in the Senate chamber as Sen. Scott Dibble, who is both openly gay and the bill's chief sponsor in the Senate, made his final remarks prior to the vote.
"Members, we do this for the people we hear outside in the halls of this great hall, the peoples' building, who are here on both sides," he said. "This is democracy, and they're here, talking about their hopes. We hear them cheering."
He began by reading portions of Langston Hughes' poem "Let America Be America Again" and asked his colleagues to listen to the people's voices as demonstrators chanted "vote yes."
"We are redefining nothing," Dibble said. "We are joining and affirming the thing we cherish and prize and value the most.
The bill now moves the desk of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who has vowed to sign the bill into law on the Capitol's south steps at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.