Thursday, August 01, 2013

Let the Weddings Commence!

I write this a little after midnight, Thursday, August 1 – a truly historic day for Minnesota.

Explains the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Gay and lesbian couples from around the state gathered at city halls, courthouses and even the Mall of America shortly before midnight on Wednesday, poised for a historic round of midnight ceremonies that would mark the first legal same-sex weddings in Minnesota.

Couples who kept their love and relationships secret for years — even decades — were preparing to proclaim what they say will be their new status as full-fledged newlyweds.

“Our wedding will be about celebration and commitment, but will also be about sharing our lives to help people better understand how much the same we all are,” said Phil Oxman, who on Wednesday evening was hours away from marrying his partner of 38 years during a jam-packed procession of same-sex marriages at Minneapolis City Hall.

Earlier this year Minnesota became the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage, a law that was to take effect at the stroke of midnight after more than two years of fighting over the issue.

Also just after midnight, same-sex couples who were previously married in other states became legally recognized in Minnesota.

Just hours ago, some friends and I gathered at the Wilde Roast Cafe in Minneapolis for "Married at Midnight: Minnesota's Largest Wedding Reception"!

Left: The view of downtown Minneapolis from the St. Anthony Main area of Northeast Minneapolis, where the Wilde Roost Cafe is located.

Organized by Minnesotans United PAC, the evening featured appetizers, wedding cake, and a champagne toast at midnight, along with music and "honeymoon" giveaways every hour. A wedding guestbook was available in which people were invited to write a 'thank you' note to Governor Dayton and to those state legislators who helped make Minnesota the 13th state to grant the 'freedom to marry.'

Above: Standing second from right with friends (from left) Tim,
Brent & Lisa, and Robin.

Above: Rebecca, Maggie, Christine, and Cristy.

Following is another excerpt from the Star Tribune's coverage of this historic day for marriage equality in Minnesota.

The path to marriage equality, after simmering in the state for decades, took an unlikely and circuitous route.

Two years ago, Republican legislative leaders put a measure on the ballot that would have taken an existing ban on same-sex marriage and etched it in the state constitution, making it virtually impossible to overturn. Thirty other states had already passed a similar same-sex marriage ban, and most political watchers saw no reason Minnesota wouldn’t follow suit.

But after an unprecedented campaign that mobilized thousands of volunteers and drew millions of dollars in donations, Minnesota became the first state to reject such a measure. But that still left in place a statute banning gay marriage. Shortly after, the supporters that engineered the constitutional win harnessed their enormous political machine to persuade legislators to move ahead with full-scale legalization.

On May 14, Gov. Mark Dayton signed the legalization bill into law. Leading up to the first weddings, Dayton issued a proclamation declaring Thursday “Freedom to Marry Day” in Minnesota.

That's today, folks! So, Happy Freedom to Marry Day to all my readers!

And if where you're at you can't celebrate fully what this day means in Minnesota, I hope one day very soon you will be able to.

Related Off-site Links:
Tonight's the Night for First Gay Marriages – Brian Lambert (MinnPost, July 31, 2013).
Gay Couples Rush to Wed Under New Minnesota Law – Patrick Condon (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, August 1, 2013).
Minnesota Weddings Start a New Day for Same-Sex Couples – Baird Helgeson, Jim Ragsdale, and Jennifer Brooks (Star Tribune, August 1, 2013).
Some Minnesotans Are More Sad Than Bitter Over Gay Marriage – Kim Ode (Star Tribune, July 31, 2013).
Gays Marry in Minnesota (Photo Gallery)Star Tribune (August 1, 2013).
A Timeline of Minnesota's Gay Marriage Debate – Tom Nehil (MinnPost, May 14, 2013).
Scott Dibble Says Anti-Gay Republicans Are Helping Create Marriage Equality – Graham Gremore (Queerty, June 30, 2013).
Gay Couples Wed At Midnight As Two More States Legalize Same-Sex Marriage – Patrick Condon (Associated Press via The Huffington Post, August 1, 2013).

UPDATES: Couples Celebrate Legal Same-Sex Marriage in Minnesota in Midnight Ceremonies – Jon Collins and Sasha Aslanian (Minnesota Public Radio, August 1, 2013).
Meet the First Same-Sex Couple to Be Legally Married in Minnesota – Chris Geidner (BuzzFeed, August 1, 2013).
Legality of Same-Sex Marriage Still Issue for Minnesota Border Residents – Dan Gunderson (Minnesota Public Radio, August 1, 2013).
Gay Weddings Begin in Minnesota Churches – Terence Weldon (Queering the Church, August 1, 2013).
Same-Sex Wedding Photos from Minnesota and Rhode Island That Will Make Your DayThe Huffington Post (August 1, 2013).
75 Unforgettable Moments from Minnesota’s First Day of Marriage Equality – Matt Stopera (BuzzFeed, August 1, 2013).
'Making History in the Name of Love' as Night Turns to Morning in Minnesota – Beth Hawkins (MinnPost, August 1, 2013).
Culture/History Underlies Freedom to Marry – Alfred Walking Bull (The Circle News: Native American News and Arts, August 1, 2013).
Minnesota Sees Rush to Gay Marriage – Brian Bakst and Patrick Condon (Associated Press via Star Tribune, September 2, 2013).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
National LGBTQ Catholic Organization Honors Role Played by Catholics and Other Faith Groups in Securing Marriage Equality in Minnesota
Rediscovering What Has Been Written on Our Hearts from the Very Beginning
Tongues and Souls on Fire
Marriage Equality Comes to Minnesota
Karen Clark's Revolutionary Act: "Daring to Believe That People Can Change Their Hearts and Minds"
Marriage: "Part of What is Best in Human Nature"
"It'll Be Legal August 1st"
The Minneapolis (and Online) Premiere of Catholics for Marriage Equality

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