Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota passed two key legislative committees on March 12.
Late on Tuesday, the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee approved an equality bill with a 10-7 vote.
Earlier, the Senate version sponsored by Scott Dibble and coauthored by Brenden Petersen passed by a 5-3 vote.
Activists supporting the measures arrived at Minnesota AFL-CIO office near the Capitol before sunrise to begin lobbying and preparing for testimony and debate.
The Minnesota Daily reported that more than 60 people testified on the bills, including former Rep. Lynne Osterman, who tearfully said she regretted voting for a Defense of Marriage Act more than a decade ago, under pressure from party leaders.
"Voting no today, this session, might seem politically expedient," she said. "But I can tell you from experience that you will have to live knowing that a ‘no vote’ is not fair, it’s not respectful and it’s not equal."
Floor votes are expected later in the session.
Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign a marriage equality bill if it reaches his office. If that happened, same-sex couples would begin marrying in Minnesota in August.
Last November, Minnesota voters rejected an amendment to add a ban on gay marriage into their state constitution.
On the Web…
Lynne Osterman's testimony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i1wrruTU9c