Okay, folks—with ten minutes or so until the session starts, I think I'm going to have to try to repost this. Hang on and re-rec if you can. Thanks!
Update 5: The closed-circuit video coverage of the Senate session, available at the Senate's website, has begun. It's currently just a shot of staffers milling around on the floor, with light musical accompaniment. The fireworks will begin shortly, I trust.
Update 4: Things appear to be hoppin' inside the Capitol, just like they were back on Thursday. The MPR liveblog has fun pictures of the scene.
And in a story picked up in Kossack Chrislove's diary, St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman (hmmm: "Chrislove"...?) has temporarily renamed the Wabasha Bridge over the Mississippi River, on the south side of downtown St. Paul, the "Freedom to Marry Bridge" for this week.
It's only too bad that the Capitol is on the north side of downtown....
Update 3: The professional liveblogs seem to be taking shape. Here is Minnesota Public Radio ("MPR")'s; here's The Uptake's (which seems to be empty at present); and here is the StarTribune's "Hot Dish Politics" blog, which I suspect will be fairly live-ish today.
While I'm flacking diaries, I think I'd like to point to one of my own: "Marriage Equality and the Supremes: The Possible 'California Only' Outcome IS NOT California Only!"
Given the ideas about standing (blechh) that the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court expressed during oral argument on the Proposition 8 case on March 26, the points I make in that diary may turn out to be moot—but if not, and the Court surprises observers by affirming the Ninth Circuit's "no take-backs" rule in the Prop 8 case, that could now have a huge impact on the near future of marriage equality in Minnesota. The Ninth's "no take-backs" rule would cement the anticipated Minnesota decision effectively forever—which makes an enormous difference to us Minnesotans, both pro-equality and anti-. "California only," my ear.
And for good measure, here's one more journalist stage-setting article: MinnPost's Beth Hawkins on "On decision day, symbols and hope abound":
Forget the usual tales of vote-trading, compromise brokering and backroom arm-twisting. All anybody really seems interested in since Thursday’s House of Representatives’ vote to legalize same-sex marriage is whether there will be one specially selected “first” couple to be wed the moment the proposed law would go into effect Aug. 1.Update 1: Thought I'd look around for journalists setting the scene for what's going on in St. Paul today.
The bill’s main Senate author, Minneapolis DFLer Scott Dibble, married Richard Leyva in California before Prop 8 put that state’s gay marriage law on hold. A definitive yes vote and the governor’s signature, expected today and tomorrow, would make their union recognizable here. But they’re already married.
First, the AP's Patrick Condon looks at "the Minnesota same-sex marriage bill, in context":
The legislation includes language to protect religious institutions from being forced to perform marriages between same-sex couples, and lets religiously affiliated groups refuse business related to same-sex wedding receptions based on religious objections.MPR's Tom Scheck, in an article from last Friday, writes about the stunning political turnaround that is the recent history of marriage equality in Minnesota:
If it passes, gay couples could get married in Minnesota beginning on Aug. 1. Some businesses are already jumping on the bandwagon: Hell's Kitchen, a Minneapolis restaurant, posted on its Facebook page that it would host a free Aug. 1 wedding for a gay couple.
Just two years ago, Republicans, who then controlled the Legislature, thought it would help them politically to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would ban same-sex marriage.MPR also has a bunch of fun photos from the festivities inside and outside of last Thursday's House session. (I was on the scene, but—darn—I'm not in any of those pictures.)
It's been a quick turnaround from then until now.
After Thursday's vote, same-sex marriage supporters inside the Capitol erupted with joy. But for years, one man stood silently outside of the House and Senate nearly every day holding a sign encouraging lawmakers to recognize his marriage.
"It says 'marriage equality this year' but Sen. [John] Marty came up to me and said 'you should change that to this week,' " said Doug Benson of Robbinsdale.
More than 1,000 orange-clad supporters of same-sex marriage were in a festive mood throughout the day, singing songs, cheering “Love is Love” and waiting for the victory they knew was coming. The party atmosphere was in sharp contrast to election night 2012, 189 days earlier, when supporters of gay marriage anxiously awaited the verdict on the proposed Amendment that would have written a ban on legal same-sex marriages into the state Constitution. That mean-spirited and cynical ploy, cooked up by Republican legislative majorities that had relied too long on gay bashing, proved too clever by half: Minnesota’s voters shocked the cynics, ignored the Scripture thumping and defeated the amendment.The StarTribune's Rachel Stassen-Berger announces that "Same-sex marriage [is] nearly Minnesota law":
The Minnesota Senate on Monday afternoon will bring to a close the state's long and wrenching conversation about same-sex marriage as it takes votes to legalize gay couples' unions.The STrib's "Hot Dish Politics" blog has posted its first entry on what may be a busy day:
With the expected approval, the measure will be sent to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton who will likely sign it into law in a celebratory ceremony on Tuesday.
Once the bill becomes law, Minnesota, which last year rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, will become the twelfth state to offer same-sex couples the same right to marriage as heterosexual couples have.
Outside the state Capitol, where the state Senate is expected to vote to legalize gay marriage Monday afternoon, Don Lee had set up a gravestone reading "RIP Marriage 2013."(That article isn't all about the haters, BTW.)
"It is the end of marriage as we know it," said Lee, of Eagan. "You still have the word but you don't have the meaning."
He said while a ban on same-sex marriage did not belong in the constitution, he mourned the ending of the connection between solemn marriage vows and procreation.
And finally, the hometown St. Paul Pioneer Press checks in, in an unsigned article:
A festive mood among gay-marriage supporters is taking hold at the state Capitol as a bill to legalize it nears its final hurdle.(The PiPress found that "RIP Marriage" guy, too.)
Hundreds of proponents were arriving Monday, May 13, hours before a state Senate takes up the bill at noon. They lined the Capitol steps with cut-out hearts to create a path to the building for lawmakers.
An interesting day begins....
Update 0: It's been several years since my last liveblog; that one was a blast, so I thought it would be worthwhile to do another one in light of the situation that's presenting itself.
On that evening in 2008, I was able to get onto the floor of the Xcel Center as a member of the press; today, I'm just back at the ol' law office, watching the Senate session on the public video feed with everyone else.
I was able to be at the Capitol last Thursday for the House vote, which was a lot of fun as well; it took forever, but the moment of realization that equality had seven votes more than it needed for a majority was tremendous. Will today's analogous moment be just as awesome, or will it be anticlimactic? We'll have to see.
As far as time predictions are concerned, last Thursday's House session, like today's Senate session, started at noon. Confounding some folks who thought it'd take hours and hours, the House spent most of its time debating the bill itself (they disposed of amendments quickly) and ended up passing it sometime during the 3:00 hour. I am not particularly knowledgeable about the legislative process, but that would be my mostly uneducated guess for today as well.
In addition to the Senate's live feed, I'll be trying to monitor any media or pundit liveblogs I can find; I expect that at least the StarTribune, Minnesota Public Radio, and the Uptake will be providing up-to-the-minute reports. (Last Thursday, when I was amid the teeming throngs in the Capitol but outside the House chamber, those outlets' liveblogs were our lifeline much of the time.)