MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Minnesota Senate votes - KMSP-TV

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Minnesota Senate wrapping up same-sex marriage debate

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Beth Johnson from St. Paul and Anddi Schwartz from White Bear Lake are among the crowd of supporters for a yes vote in the Minnesota Senate. Photo by Tim Blotz / FOX 9 News Beth Johnson from St. Paul and Anddi Schwartz from White Bear Lake are among the crowd of supporters for a yes vote in the Minnesota Senate. Photo by Tim Blotz / FOX 9 News
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

In a matter of hours, the Minnesota Senate is expected to pass a bill to legalize same sex marriage and make Minnesota the 12th state with marriage equality.

The Senate struck down an amendment that would have allowed people and institutions refuse to do business with same-sex couples based on religion on a 41-26 vote earlier in the afternoon. Supporters of the bill say the term "civil marriage" is protection enough for churches that do not want to perform gay marriages.

The scene at the Capitol is more subdued than last Thursday's vote in the House -- more of a celebration-in-waiting. And unlike Thursday, when supporters and opponents stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the Rotunda, the Capitol on Monday is filled almost exclusively with supporters of the bill.

LIVE VIDEO

Watch live video of the debate and vote at http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/category/237218/live-video

'GOING TO THE CHAPEL'

Crowds have been growing by the hour, with supporters singing a chorus of "Going to the Chapel" from the Capitol steps ahead of the noon session.

Last Thursday, the Minnesota House passed the H.F. 1054 – the Freedom to Marry Act – with a 75-59 vote. Monday, Minnesota senators will vote on S.F. 925 and leaders say it has enough support to pass. The bill's next stop would be the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton, who has all intentions of signing it.

LAST STAND

But while marriage equality in Minnesota is a foregone conclusion, opponents are staging their last stand.

Bill Zemke from St. Peter's Catholic Church in Forest Lake, Minn. and Bob Hinnenkamp from St. John's Parish in Excelsior, Minn. both showed up at the Capitol on Monday to show their opposition.

"I don't want to change the definition of marriage for a minority of people," Hinnenkamp said.

WHAT CHANGES?

The bill changes the word "marriage" in state law to "civil marriage," and changes the definition of those eligible from "a man and a woman" to "two persons."

GOVERNOR TO SIGN BILL TUESDAY

The Senate is expected to start debating at noon, with a vote to follow. And then a vote will follow. Gov. Dayton is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday, and couples would be allowed to get married starting on Aug. 1.

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