ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota is positioned to become the 12th state to approve gay marriages following a historic vote in the state House.
The 75-59 vote Thursday was seen as pivotal for the measure, which would allow same-sex weddings beginning Aug. 1. It's a startling shift in the state, where just six months earlier voters turned back an effort to ban them in the Minnesota Constitution.
The Senate is expected to pass the bill next week, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he'll sign it.
Eleven other states allow gay marriages - including Rhode Island and Delaware, which approved laws in the past week. Minnesota would be the first state in the Midwest to pass the measure out of the Legislature. Iowa allows gay marriages because of a 2009 court ruling.
In St. Paul, demonstrators filled the hallway outside the House chambers before Thursday's debate and vote.
Supporters of gay marriage, dressed in orange T-shirts, held up signs that read "I Support The Freedom to Marry." Behind them, opponents held up bright pink signs that simply said "Vote No."
State lawmakers have been advised that 30 to 40 additional uniformed officers were on hand to maintain a safe environment.
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