Same-sex marriage in Minnesota
Same-sex marriage is fully legal and recognized in Minnesota. It has been recognized if performed in other jurisdictions since July 1, 2013, and the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on August 1, 2013. After 52.6% of state voters rejected a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in November 2012, the Minnesota Legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill in May 2013, which Governor Mark Dayton signed on May 14, 2013. Minnesota was the second state in the Midwest, after Iowa, to legalize marriage between same-sex couples and the first in the region to do so by enacting legislation rather than by court order. Minnesota was the first state to reject a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, though Arizona rejected one in 2006 that banned all legal recognition and later approved one banning only marriage.
Minnesota is also where one of the first same-sex marriage cases in the world took place. In Baker v. Nelson the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously held in 1972 that it did not violate the constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case on appeal.
Baker v. Nelson was the first case in United States history in which a same-sex couple sued over marriage rights. In 1971, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Minnesota's laws prohibited marriages between same-sex partners and did not violate the federal constitution. On October 10, 1972, the Supreme Court, declining to hear the case on appeal, issued a one-sentence order that said: "The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question."
Responding to the State Supreme Court ruling, in June 1972, at the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) State Convention, delegates voted to add a plank to the party platform supporting same-sex marriage rights. This is the first known case of support by a major United States political party for same-sex marriage, though it is worth noting that many DFL state representatives disassociated themselves from the plank and the DFL party rules subsequently changed to make amendments to the party platform much harder to achieve for future conventions.
In May 2010, Marry Me Minnesota, a gay rights organization, sued the state of Minnesota, challenging the state's Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed in 1997. The trial court dismissed the suit in March 2011, citing Baker v. Nelson as "binding precedent." Marry Me Minnesota, founded by same-sex couples for the purpose of suing the state, announced plans to appeal the decision.
Efforts to amend the state constitution
In 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009, bills were introduced into the Minnesota House and Senate to have the voters consider an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman and outlawing civil unions that offer comparable rights.
On May 11, 2011, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill to place a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot that would ban same-sex marriage, though not civil unions. The question presented to voters on the ballot read: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?" The amendment was defeated by Minnesota voters, making Minnesota the first US state to reject a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Arizona rejected a ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions in 2006 and then adopted a ban on only same-sex marriages in 2008. Minnesota's constitutional amendment proposal was rejected by 52.6% of voters.
Late in 2008, State Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, announced plans to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. On February 19, 2009 a bill to allow civil unions in Minnesota was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives sponsored by Reps. Joe Mullery, Mindy Greiling, and Tom Tillberry. On March 5, 2009, a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Minnesota was introduced in the Minnesota Senate. Its authors were Marty and Sens. Scott Dibble, Linda Higgins, Mee Moua, and Patricia Torres Ray. The bill failed to get a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In December 2012, Rep. Alice Hausman and Sen. Marty announced plans to introduce same-sex marriage legislation in 2013. They and legislative leaders expressed varying views on its prospects. In January 2013, Dibble said Democrats planned to focus early in the session on "kitchen-table issues" of improving the economy and creating jobs and would wait at least a month or two before pressing for the legalization of same-sex marriage. On February 28, 2013, HF 1054, officially titled Marriage between two persons provided for, and exemptions and protections based in religious associations provided for, was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. On March 12 both the Senate and House policy committees passed the same version of the marriage bill, Senate bill SF925 and House Bill HF1054. Other committees of each house reviewed the financial impact of the legislation on 6 and 7 May. On May 9, 2013, the House passed same-sex marriage legislation by a vote of 75-59, with all but two Democrats voting for the bill and all but four Republicans voting against. On May 13, 2013, the Senate passed the bill on a vote of 37-30, with all but three Democrats voting for the bill and all but one Republican voting against. Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law on May 14, 2013, on the south steps of the Minnesota State Capitol before a crowd of 6,000 people. Under the provisions of the legislation, the first same-sex marriage would likely take place August 1, 2013. The legislation also gives Minnesota courts authority over divorce proceedings in the case of a same-sex couple married in Minnesota when neither party resides in a state that recognizes their marriage. Some Minnesota counties announced plans to make marriage licenses available as early as June 6.
The law took effect on July 1, 2013, and Minnesota has recognized the validity of same-sex marriage from other jurisdictions since then. The state began issuing its own marriage certificates to same-sex couples on August 1, 2013. Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke were the first couple to be married in Minneapolis at midnight on August 1, 2013, in a ceremony at Minneapolis City Hall officiated by Mayor R.T. Rybak. The definition of marriage in the state of Minnesota is now the following:
A civil marriage, so far as its validity in law is concerned, is a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential
At least 1,640 same-sex couples married in Minnesota from August to September 2013, representing one-third of all marriages celebrated during that time. 75% of same-sex marriage licenses were issued in Hennepin County and Ramsey County. Approximately 1,433 marriage licenses were issued in the twelve counties that rejected Minnesota Amendment 1 in 2012, the constitutional amendment which sought to ban same-sex marriage. Of the counties that favored the amendment, Clay County issued the most marriage licenses with 31. Other counties including Cook County issued seven licenses, while Aitkin County and Lyon County issued two licenses each.
|% support||% opposition||% no opinion|
|Edison Research||November 4, 2014||?||± ?%||58%||39%||-|
|New York Times/CBS News/YouGov||September 20-October 1, 2014||2,562 likely voters||± 2.2%||52%||34%||13%|
|Star Tribune Minnesota||June 11–13, 2013||800 adults||± 3.5%||46%||44%||10%|
|SurveyUSA||April 19–21, 2014||500 adults||± 4.5%||51%||47%||2%|
|Public Policy Polling||January 18–20, 2013||1,065 voters||± 3%||47%||45%||8%|
|Public Policy Polling||November 2–3, 2012||1,164 likely voters||± 2.9%||49%||41%||10%|
|Public Policy Polling||October 5–8, 2012||937 likely voters||± 3.2%||47%||43%||10%|
|Public Policy Polling||September 10–11, 2012||824 likely voters||± 3.4%||43%||46%||11%|
|Public Policy Polling||May 31-June 3, 2012||973 voters||± 3.1%||47%||42%||11%|
|Public Policy Polling||January 21–22, 2012||1,236 voters||± 2.8%||43%||47%||10%|
|Public Policy Polling||May 27–30, 2011||1,179 voters||± 2.9%||46%||45%||9%|
Domestic partner registry
Eighteen cities in Minnesota, covering a total population of more than one million, have domestic partner registries allowing unmarried homosexual and heterosexual couples the right to obtain a certificate signifying that they are not related by blood and are committed to each other:
- Minneapolis (1991)
- Duluth (2009)
- St. Paul (2009)
- Edina (2010)
- Rochester (2010)
- Maplewood (2010)
- Golden Valley (2010)
- St. Louis Park (2011)
- Red Wing (2011)
- Richfield (2011)
- Shoreview (2011)
- Robbinsdale (2011)
- Falcon Heights (2011)
- Hopkins (2011)
- Shorewood (2011)
- Crystal (2011)
- Eagan (2012)
- Eden Prairie (2012)
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