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.

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.

For people on both sides of the issue, the law will conclude a decades-long conversation about the state's role in marriage, the meaning of couples' unions, equality, freedom and religious beliefs.

On Thursday, in a hushed and emotional debate, the Minnesota House voted 75-59 to approve same-sex marriage. The Senate debate on Monday is expected to be equally solemn, with lawmakers standing up one by one to make their wishes clear. The Star Tribune will live stream that debate here.

But outside the august Senate chamber, the scene is expected to be much more raucous. Citizens with strong feelings for and against legalization will chant, cheer and plead with lawmakers to vote their way. The Star Tribune will live stream those crowds here.

Please check the Hot Dish blog throughout the day for updates from the debate and scenes from the Capitol on Monday.

You can also follow the day's events on Twitter through reporters Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, Jim Ragsdale and Jennifer Brooks and photographer Glen Stubbe.



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