Posted at: 05/14/2013 5:17 PM
Updated at: 05/14/2013 10:43 PM
By: Steph Crock

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Governor Dayton Signs Same Sex Marriage Bill

(ABC 6 News) -- The State Patrol estimates 6,000 people packed the capitol grounds Tuesday as Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law making Minnesota the 12th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

What a difference a year and an election makes. That's how Governor Dayton opened his speech before signing historic legislation late Tuesday afternoon. You'll remember in November, Minnesota was on the cusp of making it impossible for gays to ever get married, and now the opposite has happened.

Many of them in the crowd had not only fought to make this happen, but fought that constitutional amendment which was voted down in November. The governor thanked all of them for their support and the crowd erupted in cheers and applause as he signed the same-sex marriage bill into law.

Before doing as he promised, Governor Dayton spoke of how far Minnesota has come, "Last year there were concerns that marriage equality would be banned here forever, now my signature will make it legal in two and a half months," Gov. Dayton said in his speech.

He talked of battling the amendment in which he strongly opposed, but also referenced our founding fathers. "They also left out GLBT men and woman, if you believe as I do, that life liberty and the pursuit of happiness certainly includes to marry the person you love," said Gov. Dayton.

This day, he says…"We changed the course of history for our state and our nation." He thanked a laundry list of people, from Senators to Representatives, but also… "I want to thank the activists, all of you here tonight, and the thousands more throughout our state who worked so long and so hard to win this extraordinary victory," said Gov. Dayton.

However, no moment was more captured than this one, "So it is now my honor to sign into law, this next step for the state of Minnesota, to fulfill its promise to every Minnesotan," said Gov. Dayton.

"I sat and cried while the governor was signing it," said activist Richard Bares-Passow.

"It's spectacular, you can see so many smiles, so many happy people, it’s really just invigorating," said activist Zachary Boyce.

A day full of happy tears for families who say they now feel at home "It's great to have that choice, I tell you, I feel like a real citizen of Minnesota," said activist Jane Leonard.

Some gay couples said they can now have the future they always dreamed of. "31 years! She's my main squeeze. If I'm getting married to anyone, it’s to her," said Lori Lippent about her long-time partner Jane.

Minnesota is now the second Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage following Iowa. Illinois is debating the measure right now. Gay marriage is also legal in Washington and all of New England.