CHICAGO – Legislators in Minnesota voted 75-59 on Thursday for the Midwestern state to become the 12th in the United States, and the third this month, to endorse same-sex marriage.
“Same-sex couples should be treated fairly under the law, including the freedom to marry the person we love,” state representative Karen Clark told a cheering crowd of hundreds that included her longtime lesbian partner.
Four Republicans broke party ranks to vote with Democrats for the bill.
Last week Rhode Island became the 10th state — and the last in relatively liberal New England — to legalize gay marriage, followed on Tuesday by Delaware. The only Midwestern state to do so is Iowa, Minnesota’s neighbor to the south.
Constitutional bans remain in place in 31 states, while the US Supreme Court is expected to rule in June on the Defense of Marriage Act, under which the federal government recognizes heterosexual marriages only.