May 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm
ST. PAUL, Minn (KNSI) - Minnesota is the 12th state in the nation to recognize legal marriages for same-sex couples.
In a ceremony held on Tuesday afternoon outside the Capitol in St. Paul, Governor Mark Dayton praised house and senate leaders for their "political courage" before putting pen to paper to sign the Freedom to Marry Act.
Cheering spectators filled the south lawn of the state Capitol for the outdoor ceremony, with rainbow and American flags fluttering in a sweltering breeze.
The governor's signature came just a day after the state Senate approved their portion of the bill.
In his statement, Dayton cited the declaration of independence, stating, "the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should, in my opinion, include the right for everyone to marry who they love."
Minnesota is the first midwestern state to legislatively pass same-sex marriage.
Same-sex weddings will be allowed beginning August 1st.
It's estimated the state will process over 5,000 marriage licenses for gay couples in the next three years.
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