Posted at: 05/09/2013 10:41 PM
Updated at: 05/09/2013 10:45 PM
By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 News) -- It was an historic vote that's expected to lay the foundation for Minnesota to become the nation's 12th state to allow gay marriage.
On Thursday, House lawmakers voted 75 to 59 in favor of legalizing gay marriage.
The issue now goes to the Senate on Monday where backers say they also have enough votes to approve it, and Governor Dayton has said he'll sign it into law.
Thursday’s historic decision followed three hours of passionate, yet respectful debate on the House floor, with both sides acknowledging the deep-seated conflict of the issue.
“What we learned in November more than anything is that this is an issue that deeply divides Minnesotans," Republican minority leader Kurt Daudt said in reference to last Fall’s failed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Outside the House doors, hundreds of supporters and opponents sang, chanted, and waited in anxious anticipation.
“I've been working and hoping and praying that Joseph and I, who've been together for 20 years, can get married in our home state of Minnesota," said supporter Bob Werner.
“It represents more an abolition of marriage,” said opponent Kris Engel. “Because marriage won't really mean much."
But as the votes came in, a cry of joy went up from supporters. It was the moment that many had waited for their whole lives.
“So much hope and so much joy. We've done so much,” Werner said. “We've worked so hard."
“It's an emotional day,” said Rep. Joe Radinovich of Brainerd. “I think the reason is we all held these beliefs deep in our hearts."
“I’m glad to see us move on,” said Rochester Rep. Tine Liebling. “Freedom and equality are a good thing and I feel very privileged to be here today."
The vote was almost entirely down party lines, although a few lawmakers did cross over.
Four republicans voted in favor of the bill and two democrats voted against.