ST. PAUL(AP) - Minnesota state senators have started their debate on gay marriage as the bill to legalize it here gets close to its last step in the legislative process.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill on Monday, which would send it to the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton. He has promised to sign the bill.

The Capitol is again jammed with demonstrators as the Senate takes up the bill. This time, gay marriage supporters clearly outnumber opponents which is a contrast from last Thursday's House vote, where it was more closely matched.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis, says changing a few words in law will "bring families across Minnesota into the full sunshine of equality and freedom."