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Dayton Signs Marriage Equality Bill - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Dayton Signs Marriage Equality Bill

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UPDATE

 Last week, the state house, and now the senate as Minnesota is a governor's signature away from becoming the 12th state to allow same-sex couples to marry. The state senate voted 37-30 to pass the bill, which allows same sex weddings to beginning August first. It was just six months ago, that Minnesota voters rejected an effort to ban gay marriage in the state constitution. Monday's action in the senate included impassioned debate from both sides.

Sen. Dan Hall (R) Burnsville says, "Some have said don't you want top be on the right side of history? the truth is I want to be on the right side of eternity.  ..."

Sen. Ron Latz (DFL) St. Louis Park says, "God made gays.  and god made gays capable of loving of loving other people, including other people of the same gender.  ..."

Today's debate attracted attention around the country including many here at home, including a watch party at MSUM. The room was silent as the debate wrapped up and the votes started coming in. And when the announcement was made, the room was full of cheers, smiles and tears. While happiness and relief are common words many supporters are using to describe today, not everyone feels the same.

This group has been waiting.

Lynzie Schmid: I thought no way, this is never going to fly up here.

They've listened to one side, and then the other of an over four hour debate, but for many, they've been waiting much longer for same-sex marriage equality in Minnesota.
 
Lynzie Schmid of Fargo says, "Just butterflies."

Puja Sharma of Moorhead says, "Oh, I was extremely happy."

"To see what I fought for, to see what I hoped for, to see my rights being codified," says Seth Meyer of Moorhead.

Schmid says, "Just, it was a relief."

Lynzie Schmid was overwhelmed with emotion.

"When you know that they're the one, that's when you know and that's what it was for me," says Schmid.

She was crying on the phone with her fiance Heather after finding out they can get married without having to travel to a different state.

For many, the vote is a breakthrough in equality, but others say it's a step backwards. On the Valley News Live Facebook page, Kelly says, "Makes me sick...thankfully I live in North Dakota, I pray this state keeps what God created as right and moral..." And Mark had this to say, "There are blessings for obedience and consequences for disobedience. It's going to be interesting to see how this is going to play work itself out in MN."

The bill changes the term "marriage" in state law to "civil marriage" -- and expands the definition of who is eligible from "a man and a woman" to "two persons." But to many, "marriage" isn't the only word being redefined... For Lynzie, the word "love" is gaining acceptance and equality.

Schmid says, "I've never felt as cared about as I do with her."

Schmid and her fiance heather had planned on getting married in Iowa next June, but now, Lynzie says she would like to get married in Moorhead.

The governor says he will sign a bill legalizing gay marriage in a ceremony on the capitol steps tomorrow at five PM with legislators and supporters on hand.
 
___________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE
 

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is signing a gay marriage bill making Minnesota the 12th state to legalize the union between same sex couples. It's a moment many across the valley have been waiting for their whole life. And as Valley News team's Eric Crest explains something they couldn't be more proud of.

At the First Congressional United Church of Christ in Moorhead Pastor Mark Pettis has been joining same sex couples for years. It was just never recognized by the state.

"We have been doing same gender weddings in the church for a number of years," says Pastor Pettis.

But when Governor Dayton signs the bill legalizing same sex marriage. What was once referred to as a union, will be marriage.

"We're not talking about civil unions versus marriage. We're talking about marriage for everyone," explains Pettis.

Some businesses like Alan and Evans Bridal in Moorhead stand to benefit from the states move. But as co-owner Mark Bayer explains, it's not about the financial benefits but the one's more widely felt across the state, "marriage is a legal contract and everybody should have the opportunity to sign it."

Bayer says it's when you include everyone that there's more to go around. For instance tuxedo rentals and wedding dress purchases will likely increase as we get closer to August.

"We're going to see a little bit of bump because now we're going to see two brides at a time for those marriages that will go forward. And we're excited cause they can spend more money in our own state," says Bayer.

Keeping couples in the state, and letting them spend their money here, rather than in another state makes sense to some business owners. Especially those who stand to keep the wedding party here.

"When your talking extra money to travel someplace else, whether it be Iowa, New York or Washington state. It's an added cost burden to have a wedding away from family," says Bayer.

Because learning how to bring Minnesota's budget back into the red likely isn't the goal of a move like this. But rather a move to acknowledge the world is changing.

"We've seen this kind of thing play out before in this country. We can just look to the civil rights movement and how once we thought something so certainly, and their was no question about it. As time went forward it was a difficult and a painful process. But we finally come to the point where we realize people should all have the same rights.," says Pastor Pettis.

From marriage license fees to the celebration itself, more people getting married means more money for the Minnesota economy. For example, just one year after same sex marriage was legalized in New York, the state brought in an extra 16 million dollars in tax revenue.


UPDATE

The Minnesota Senate has voted to legalize gay marriage, putting the state on the brink of becoming the 12th to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Monday's vote sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who plans to sign the bill into law at 5 p.m. Tuesday in a ceremony on the Capitol steps.

St. Paul city officials announced an outdoor concert right after the signing at a downtown plaza with more than a half-dozen performers. They're calling it the "Love is Law" concert.

The state Senate voted 37-30 to pass the bill. The bill passed the House last week. It allows same-sex weddings beginning August 1.

With Dayton's signature, Minnesota would be the first Midwestern state where elected representatives voted directly to allow gay marriage. Iowa has had gay marriage since 2009, but that was due to a court ruling.

Just six months ago, Minnesota voters rejected an effort to ban gay marriage in the state constitution.

ORIGINAL STORY

Minnesota state senators have been debating gay marriage as the bill to legalize it here gets close to its last step in the legislative process.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill on Monday, which would send it to the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton. He has promised to sign the bill.

The Capitol is again jammed with demonstrators as the Senate takes up the bill. This time, gay marriage supporters clearly outnumber opponents which is a contrast from last Thursday's House vote, where it was more closely matched.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis, says changing a few words in law will "bring families across Minnesota into the full sunshine of equality and freedom."

The Minnesota Senate defeated an amendment to the gay marriage bill offered by Republicans that would have beefed up protections for people with religious objections.

The bill's supporters say its extension of "civil marriage" to both straight and gay couples is sufficient protection for churches that don't want to perform gay marriages. But the Republican amendment would have extended protections to individuals with religious objections to doing business with gay couples.

Gay marriage supporters said that would have gutted existing civil rights protections, and the amendment fell.

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