Governor Mark Dayton (D) has said he would sign a law making same-sex marriage legal in Minnesota. Wednesday night, he went a step further and advocated for the Minnesota legislature to take action on the controversial issue.
"I want Minnesota to be a state, which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love," Dayton told Minnesota lawmakers in his State of the State address.
In November, Minnesotans defeated a Republican-authored constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage, becoming the first state in the nation to reject such a measure.
"Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment and responsibility," said Dayton, a Democrat.
Supporters of same-sex marriage cheered Dayton's statement. State Senator Scott Dibble, also a Democrat, has been advocating for repealing Minnesota's law against "gay marriage."
"I agree with the Governor's assessment on this important issue at this historic event," Dibble said in a press release. "Minnesotans spoke clearly last year about this issue and told us the values that unite us are more important than those that divide us—that marriage is about love, commitment and responsibility.
"The state budget and our economy are the focus at the start of this session, as they should be. There is also room at the right time to have this conversation, which, consistent with everything else the legislature is working on, is really all about helping families do well."
Republicans who supported the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage said they would rather focus on the economy and jobs. Senate Minority Leader David Hann, a Republican, said it is not up to him, but up to the Democrats who won majorities in both the House and Senate.
"I think that it certainly is an issue that has divided the people of the state of Minnesota," said Hann. "There's lots of very passionate opinions on this on both sides and the majority certainly has the opportunity to bring whatever they issue they want to the floor. But we think that the budget, we think that how we are going to deal with the economy are the important issues, the central issues."
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