Yesterday, the Minnesota Senate passed, and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed, legislation making Minnesota the 12th state with marriage equality:
Minnesota becomes the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislative vote, and the latest victory for those working to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples across the nation. Monday’s action technically repeals a state statute that had prohibited such unions.
Gov. Mark Dayton [signed] the bill at 5 p.m. Tuesday, on the Capitol steps, kicking off a parade that [took] supporters to a massive downtown St. Paul celebration. The law will take effect Aug. 1.
[Sen. Branden] Petersen, the only Republican in the body to support same-sex marriage, found himself a national villain with those who thought he betrayed his party.
Petersen acknowledged the vote could cost him his seat, but closed with parting advice to his young children: “Be bold, be courageous, and you will never regret it a day in your life.”
This victory comes just two years after Republicans floated a referendum to make marriage equality unconstitutional in the state.
Support for marriage equality was more popular in the Twin Cities, around Albert Lea, and in the far northeast and far west sections of the state. Legislators from the rural middle and southwest parts of Minnesota generally voted against the measure.
Update: I just did the math. Adding Minnesota's 5.4 million people to those who live in U.S. marriage equality jurisdictions makes the total 56.9 million, or 18.1% of the U.S. Illinois would push the total to 22.2%.