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Minnesota Senate OKs gay marriage; Gov. Mark Dayton to sign marriage equality law on Tuesday

BY PATRICK CONDON AND BRIAN BAKST
ASSOCIATED PRESS

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Spurring onlookers' cheers, the Minnesota Senate voted Monday to make gay marriage legal, putting the state on the brink of becoming the 12th to allow same-sex couples to marry. Gov. Mark Dayton immediately announced he would sign the legislation Tuesday.

The Senate vote of 37-30 came four days after the House passed the bill on a 75-59 vote. When the tally was announced after more than four hours of debate, a huge cheer erupted in the chamber and gallery, where spectators stood and applauded.

Minnesota will become the first state in the Midwest to make gay marriage legal via a legislative vote. Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 through a court ruling. Under the legislation, gay couples will be able to get married starting on Aug. 1.

Last week, Dayton, a Democrat, called the bill "one of those society-changing breakthrough moments." His staff scheduled a signing ceremony for 5 p.m. Tuesday on the Capitol steps.

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