MINNEAPOLIS - Governor Mark Dayton on Tuesday made Minnesota the nation's 12th state to allow same-sex couples to marry and only the second in the Midwest, signing a bill on the steps of the state Capitol before thousands of supporters.
The Democratic governor's signature came a day after state senators approved the bill, which made Minnesota the third state this month to approve same-sex nuptials after Rhode Island and Delaware.
The Minnesota law takes effect on Aug. 1 and Minneapolis, the state's biggest city, said on Tuesday that City Hall would open just after midnight on the first day same-sex couples can marry and Mayor R.T. Rybak will be on hand to officiate that night.
"It is now my honor to sign into law this next step for the state of Minnesota to fulfill its promise to every Minnesotan," Dayton told the crowd in St. Paul before signing the bill flanked by its key Democratic sponsors, Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Karen Clark.
Iowa is the only other Midwestern state that permits same-sex couples to marry, by a state Supreme Court order in 2009.