“Today, love wins,” said Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick.
The vote, on the heels of a vote last week in the House, brings to a close a decade of debate over marriage that has echoed through the Capitol, bringing thousands of friends and foes of gay marriage to its marbled dome to express their deeply held feelings.
The measure next moves to Gov. Mark Dayton, who will welcome it with his signature in a celebratory ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the south steps of the Capitol.
Once it is signed, Minnesota will become the twelfth state to legalize same sex-marriage.
“It’s historic and I can never be so proud of this body and of Minnesotans,” said Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis. On the Senate floor, Hayden said that his wife is white and noted that just 50 years ago, his loving relationship would have been barred.
Three Democrats – Sens. LeRoy Stumpf, Dan Sparks and Lyle Koenen – voted against the bill. One Republican, Sen. Branden Petersen, voted yes.
Up until the last moments, some opponents had hoped the bill would fail despite clear indications that it would head to the Dayton’s desk.
Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, said up until the last he was praying for a miracle and the Senate to reject the bill.
“Some people have said that they are concerned about being on the right side of history. I am more concerned about being on the right side of eternity,” said Hall.
A few opponents of the bill dotted the Capitol holding signs that read ‘Don’t Erase Moms and Dads’ or gathered in a quiet spot to watch the debate unfold.
“In my heart, I grieve on both sides. Because I know what it’s like to be alone and I know what it is like to have somebody close to you and love you. But I grieve inside because I feel we are opening the doors to Sodom and Gomorra. And in the end, God is going to be the judge,” said Nelson, of Blaine, tears running down her cheeks.
Supernatural imaginary friends sitting in judgment notwithstanding, this is a great day for human rights.