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Minnesota becomes 12th state to legalize gay marriage (VIDEO)

Minnesota is the 12th state to legalize gay marriage after the state Senate passed a bill allowing the practice today.

Gay Marriage Minnesota 2013 05-13Enlarge
A gay pride and an American flag hang from a shoulder bag during a demonstration. Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize gay marriage on May 13, 2013, and only the second in the Midwest. (Justin Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images)

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Senate passed a bill allowing gay marriage today, becoming the 12th state to legalize such unions.

Minnesota is only the second Midwestern state to approve same-sex marriage and the first to do so outside the court system.

More from GlobalPost: Rhode Island gay marriage bill signed into law

Iowa has allowed same-sex marriage since 2009, but under a state Supreme Court order.

The 37-30 vote after four hours of debate makes Minnesota the third state this month to legalize gay marriage after Rhode Island and Delaware.

Minnesota's law would take effect Aug. 1.

Gov. Mark Dayton intends to sign the legislation in a ceremony on the Capitol steps tomorrow.

"It's historic and I can never be so proud of this body and of Minnesotans," said Sen. Jeff Hayden, who is in an interracial marriage.

"Just the idea what is there was a law that said I couldn't have married my wife. For me it is just really about that. The same very reasons that people are using today, they were using then."

The vote also marks a sharp reversal for Minnesota's Legislature.

Two years ago, Republicans bypassed the governor to put forward a ballot measure that would have made the state's current ban on gay marriage part of the state constitution.

More from GlobalPost: Delaware lawmakers push to legalize gay and lesbian marriage

But voters rejected that measure, and voted in Democratic majorities in both chambers last fall to set in motion today's vote.

Gay marriage supporters flooded the state Capitol in orange T-shirts reading "I Support the Freedom to Marry," singing songs and greeting lawmakers with red hearts made of construction paper as they arrived before the vote.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman ordered a downtown bridge festooned in gay pride flags today and has proclaimed this week "Freedom to Marry Week" in the state's capital city.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130513/minnesota-12th-state-legalize-gay-marriage