The Minnesota State Senate today passed the marriage equality bill by a vote of 37-30, following four hours of debate. State Senator Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) voted no on the issue. Only one Republican, Senator Brandon Petersen, voted in favor of the bill, while three DFL Senators voted no (Dan Sparks, Leroy Stumpf, and Lyle Koenen).
Governor Mark Dayton has indicated he will sign the bill, and a signing ceremony is planned for 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon on the South Side Capitol Steps. Minnesota will be the 12th state to institute marriage equality.
Rumors were swirling before the vote that Ortman, who had been consistently opposed to marriage equality in recent sessions, may be reconsidering her position. At times during the debate, she was spotted conferring with Senator Scott Dibble, the bill’s author. Hanging over Ortman’s vote was the notion that she might be a candidate for higher office in 2014. Recent speculation has indicated that she may be looking at the race for U.S. Senate against Al Franken.
The Republican base is strongly opposed to marriage equality. Polling from January shows 79% disapproval among Republicans, which likely makes the path to endorsement difficult for a marriage equality supporter.