After an historic vote last week in the Minnesota House, the Minnesota Senate will debate and vote today on SF 925, which would grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry in that state.
Debate is scheduled to begin at noon Central Time (1 p.m. Eastern Time). Click here, here, and here for live streaming video.
The bill is expected to pass in the DFL (Democratic)-controlled Senate -- the House was the bigger hurdle by far -- and pro-equality Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the bill into law tomorrow.
Minnesota will be the 12th state to join the marriage equality column, and the first Midwestern state to do so legislatively. (Iowa became a marriage equality state in 2009 thanks to a decision by the state Supreme Court.) Gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed in Minnesota beginning on August 1.
Many around the state are already preparing for history to be made today. Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul -- Minnesota's capital city -- issued a proclamation temporarily renaming the Wabasha Street Bridge, a city landmark, as the "Wabasha Street Freedom to Marry Bridge." St. Paul Public Works installed rainbow flags on the bridge this morning.
Equality opponents in Minnesota are preparing as well. Jeremy Hooper reports at Good As You that the group Minnesota for Marriage has already posted at least two whiny Facebook messages claiming victimhood and lamenting the impending civil rights victory. And after the House passed marriage equality last week, Republican State Rep. Peggy Scott wept, telling reporters that "[her] heart breaks" because same-sex couples in Minnesota will soon be able to marry.
Speaking of hearts breaking over marriage equality, I have to confess that I'm enjoying a hefty dose of schadenfreude as I think about how my dear friends Marcus and Michele Bachmann, whose clinic I busted in 2011 for offering "pray away the gay" therapy, must be reacting to all of this. In 2004, before she rose to national prominence as an outspoken and factually unmoored member of the U.S. House of Representatives, then-State Senator Michele Bachmann spearheaded an effort to add a marriage discrimination amendment to the Minnesota constitution. After numerous setbacks and Bachmann's election to federal office, the amendment made it onto the ballot last November. But it failed miserably, and may even have helped bring enough pro-equality voters to the polls to deliver the legislature back into Democratic control.
And just six months later, the state appears ready to give same-sex couples equal marriage rights. As a native Midwesterner, an LGBT rights activist, and a justice-minded human being, my heart swells with pride.