Posted at: 05/09/2013 4:34 AM
Updated at: 05/09/2013 10:44 PM
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota is positioned to become the 12th state to approve gay marriages following a historic vote in the state House.
The 75-59 vote Thursday was seen as pivotal for the measure, which would allow same-sex weddings beginning Aug. 1. It's a startling shift in the state, where just six months earlier voters turned back an effort to ban them in the Minnesota Constitution.
The Senate is expected to pass the bill next week, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he'll sign it.
Eleven other states allow gay marriages - including Rhode Island and Delaware, which approved laws in the past week. Minnesota would be the first state in the Midwest to pass the measure out of the Legislature. Iowa allows gay marriages because of a 2009 court ruling.
4 in Minn. House GOP break ranks on gay marriage
Four Minnesota House Republicans have broken party ranks to pass a gay marriage bill, with two Democrats voting against it.
Thursday's 75-59 vote to legalize same-sex marriage sets up a Monday vote in the Senate, where supporters say they have sufficient backing.
No Republicans had declared their support heading into the House vote. But yes votes came from David FitzSimmons of Albertville, Pat Garofalo of Farmington, Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury and Jenifer Loon of Eden Prairie.
Loon says she decided during the debate. Garofalo and FitzSimmons say an amendment to fortify religious protections was key. Kieffer was unavailable for comment.
The two Democrats against the marriage bill were Patti Fritz of Faribault and Mary Sawatzky of Willmar. Both come from districts that heavily supported a gay marriage ban.
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