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House likely to vote Thursday on gay marriage

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The Minnesota House is now poised to vote Thursday on a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state, which suggests the measure has the necessary support it needs to pass, the Pioneer Press reports.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, had said he would schedule a floor vote only when he knows for sure the measure would pass. The measure needs 68 House votes to be approved. “We will pass this bill,” bill sponsor Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, said Monday. "Yes we will."

Among those who will no is a lawmaker who had been carefully weighing his vote: Farmington Rep. Pat Garofalo told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he will vote to oppose the legalization of gay marriage.

The bill likely has enough support in the Senate to be approved. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign it.

Meanwhile, two panels that oversee state fiscal issues reviewed the legislation because new estimates indicate that the state would have to pay about $688,000 annually to provide health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses of state employees, according to a Minnesota Management and Budget analysis, the Pioneer Press reports.

The Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee approved it without debate on Monday, the Pioneer Press reports. The Senate Finance Committee approved it Tuesday.

Lobbyists on both sides of the issue are engaged in a high-intensity battle to influence lawmaker votes.

The Star Tribune reports that lawmakers are being flooded with e-mails, calls and visits from constituents on both sides of the issue.

Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, is among a small group of lawmakers who are undecided, the Star Tribune reports.

“It’s just a very, very personal issue for people,” he told the newspaper. “It’s really unlike any other issue at the Capitol these days.”

MPR asked Minnesotans how they feel about the issue. Here are some thoughtful responses from among the 150 responses MPR got.

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