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2013 top stories: #4 - PFLAG celebrates same-sex marriage vote

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signs a bill into law to legalize same-sex marriage in this file photo from May 14, 2013. With him are the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark and their partners, Richard Leyva and Jacquelyn Zita. (Forum News Service photo by Don Davis)

When Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota, Red Wing residents were among the thousands celebrating on the state Capitol lawn.

Bruce Ause and his wife, Kathy, attended the ceremony along with their daughter, who is a lesbian, and her family, he said.

“We’ll never forget it,” he said. “It was quite a moment.”

The Auses are part of Red Wing Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a group that worked fervently to get the legislation passed.

Their victory came just more than six months after Minnesotans defeated a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

PFLAG kept the energy from the work that went into defeating that amendment going when the push for legalizing same-sex marriage came during the 2013 legislative session, Ause said.

They organized calls and letters to lawmakers and filled a bus to go to the Capitol and lobby.

Ause said the drive from similar groups and individuals across the state likely is what convinced lawmakers to try to get the bill passed this year.

“They had such a groundswell of support to defeat the amendment that it was just a smart move to keep on going rather than lose that momentum and have to start all over again,” Ause said.

The bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota passed 75-59 in the House on May 9 and 37-30 in the Senate a few days later. Dayton signed the bill in a large ceremony May 14 at the Capitol.

Ause was in the audience the day the Senate passed the legislation as well as attending the signing ceremony.

“We were overwhelmed with joy … and very proud to be called a Minnesotan for their willingness to treat people equally,” Ause said of the day the law passed. “It was a wonderful day.”

Same-sex marriages started being performed in Minnesota on Aug. 1.

Ause said it’s been interesting to see the wave of other states legalizing same-sex marriage since May.

As of December, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, both through the courts and with legislation.

“I’m just proud to be from a state that is so open-minded,” Ause said. 

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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