The Minnesota Senate has defeated an amendment to the gay marriage bill offered by Republicans that would have beefed up protections for people with religious objections.
The Senate has been debating gay marriage Monday afternoon. It's the bill's last step in the legislative process and is expected to pass. That would mean Gov. Mark Dayton could sign it as soon as Tuesday.
The bill's supporters say its extension of "civil marriage" to both straight and gay couples is sufficient protection for churches that don't want to perform gay marriages. But the Republican amendment would have extended protections to individuals with religious objections to doing business with gay couples.
Gay marriage supporters said that would have gutted existing civil rights protections, and the amendment fell.