Minnesota is poised to become the second Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would allow the practice.RELATED: The Gay Takeover of America
The House had been considered the measure's toughest hurdle. The bill passed 75 to 59 and heads to the state's Democratic-majority Senate, which is expected to consider it Monday.
Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, has said he will sign the measure.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage -- including Delaware, which acted Tuesday. Minnesota would be the first Midwestern state to legalize it with legislation. Gay marriage is legal in Iowa because of a 2009 state Supreme Court decision.
Minnesota, like Iowa, harbors a Midwestern progressive streak. (The state's Democratic Party is formally known as the Democratic Farmer Labor Party.) But Thursday's vote marked a stark reversal from 2011, when -- after a wrenching and emotional debate -- state legislators voted to put a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on last November's ballot.
Voters rejected that amendment last year, and same-sex marriage supporters saw an opportunity.
State law bars Minnesota's government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. The current bill eliminates that provision and allows civil marriages between same-sex couples. In a nod to conservatives, churches could not be sued if they refused to perform such marriages.