St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Minnesota is on its way to becoming the 12th state in the US to legalize gay marriage following a landmark vote in the House.
It was a loud, but respectful, welcome for lawmakers Thursday on their way into the house chamber.
"I do believe we are on the verge of changing Minnesota's history," said Rep. Karen Clark, the bill's author.
It's a change that some lawmakers say has divided the state.
A gentleman from one of my towns feels that all gay people should be round up and shot. So, that threat of coming out in a small town is real," said Rep. Joe Radinivich (DFL-Crosby).
Lawmakers touched on how the legislation will impact religion, families and children.
"Will this action snatch from our children the only policy we have in our law that specifically links children to their parents," said Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover).
One DFL representative even dressed up for the occasion, wearing the same suit he wore for his wedding seven years ago this weekend.
"How can we as Representatives of all Minnesotans deny these rights to a group of citizens whose relationships are as valid as worthy as mine is with my wife," said Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley).
Another lawmaker questioned where the motivation to vote is coming from.
"A vote today is the last endorsement on this issue; the endorsement of the people through their elected officials. Are you voicing your opinion or the opinion of your constituents," asked Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake).
Thursday's House discussion also brought up the past.
"What we learned in November more than anything is that this is an issue that deeply divides Minnesotans. What we did not learn was that Minnesotans want us to redefine marriage," said Rep. Kurt Daudt, House Minority Leader.
It also gave a glimpse into the future.
"Today the door is rattling, justice is at the door again. Members how often does justice come knocking? Well, until the door is down," said Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul).
Meanwhile, thousands of dissenters and supports of the marriage equality legislation packed the Capitol building.
"It's empowering, it's awesome. I makes me feel like coming out was a great thing," said Rachel Bradley of Duluth.
"To come here and truly get our voices heard on an issue when we don't always get to and also hear the dissent," said Kelsi Manley. "It's a beautiful day for democracy."
With the House passage of a bill legitimizing same-sex marriage, the gay and lesbian community is celebrating.
"Without all of the grassroots support you have done we would have not passed this bill today. 75 votes," said Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis).
"We do this for those people who fall in love and want to get married. A new day is dawning I am so proud to be a Minnesotan today," said Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis).
Those in opposition to the bill will keep fighting until it becomes law.
"I believe this legislation is a manifestation of a nation that has turned away from God," said Jeff Baumann of Coon Rapids, MN.
"I'm in a real, honest relationship right now and it's full of love and someday I'm going to have a family full of love," said Bradley.
"I think Minnesota is ready for this and I want to be here, this is history," said Manley.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill on Monday.