American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Minnesota Becomes Twelfth State with Marriage Equality, Governor Signs Legislation

Momentum is building rapidly across the nation in advance of a Supreme Court decision on the Prop. 8 case, with Minnesota becoming the third state in two weeks to recognize marriage equality, and the sixth in six months.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed marriage equality legislation into law. Twelve states and Washington, DC, now recognize the freedom to marry. Gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry starting August 1.

Today’s bill signing is a long time coming for the state. Minnesota is home to the first lawsuit where a gay or lesbian couple sued over marriage rights. In 1971, the State Supreme Court ruled in Baker v Nelson that a law limited marriage to opposite couples did not violate the state constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case at the time “for want of a substantial federal question.”

The state legislature passed a bill in 2011 to have voters consider a constitutional amendment that would have banned marriage for gay and lesbian couples. It was defeated in 2012, part of a landslide victory, which also brought marriage equality to Maine, Maryland and Washington.

Next month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on AFER’s challenge to California’s Proposition 8. Sign up for breaking news updates.