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Pat Kessler Answers Your FAQs About Gay Marriage

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Capitol hallways echoed Thursday night with thunderous chants. And by Friday, WCCO viewers are asking a lot of questions after the House voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

A common question: What’s next?

The same sex marriage bill now heads to the Minnesota Senate, where it is expected to pass. The governor says he will sign It, and as early as Tuesday.

The bill is very controversial. Was it a straight party-line vote?

The bill had more than enough votes to pass: 75-59.

Only four Republicans voted yes, and two Democrats voted no.

What does this bill actually do?

It’s a small, but momentous change. This bill removes from state marriage law the words “a man and a woman,” and replaces them with the words “two persons.”

When can I get married?

It’s effective August 1.

Will Minnesota recognize same-sex marriages from other states?

Yes, if the same-sex marriage is legally sanctioned in that state.

Will churches be forced to perform same sex-marriage ceremonies?

It’s an important question, and the answer is no. The bill specifically allows churches to refuse same-sex marriages if it violates their beliefs.

How many gay weddings will there be?

The Census Bureau estimates there are 10,000 same-sex couples living in Minnesota.

Experiences from other states predict about half of them will get married in the first three years after its legal.

And what about same-sex divorce?

That’s in the bill, too. It expands divorce laws to include same-sex divorce, and allows couples married in Minnesota to get divorced here if they live in another state that does not permit it.

Minnesota would be the twelfth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.

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