WATCH: Minnesota Governor on How His State Made History

Gov. Mark Dayton appeared on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell to reflect on how Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

May 15 2013 3:09 PM ET

Just hours after he signed a bill making his state the 12th (along with Washington, D.C.) to embrace marriage equality, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton commended the people of Minnesota for leading the way in the increasingly rapid march toward LGBT equality. 

In an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, the Democratic governor marveled at the incredible trajectory toward equality Minnesotans found themselves on. Less than a year after voters considered — and defeated — an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, both chambers of the state legislature approved marriage equality with bipartisan votes. Same-sex couples in Minnesota can begin marrying August 1. 

"I think history was coming the way of the people of Minnesota, who pride ourselves on being on of the forefront of progressive social change," Governor Dayton told O'Donnell on Tuesday's episode of The Last Word.  

Even so, Dayton acknowledged that for "those of us in the older generation," arriving at a pro-equality position was more difficult than for younger people, who overwhelmingly support the freedom to marry. 

"Time is on the side of those who want every American to have the same equal protections under the law that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees," said the governor.

With Dayton's signature, Minnesota became the first Midwestern state to pass marriage equality through the legislature. Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 as the result of a unanimous ruling in favor of equality by the state's Supreme Court. 

Watch the interview below, where Dayton also notes that Minnesota legislators on both sides of the aisle voted their conscience, even when doing so was politically  risky. 

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