Politics

Meet The First Same-Sex Couple To Be Legally Married In Minnesota

Margaret Miles married Cathy ten Broeke at Minneapolis City Hall at moments past midnight, as the state's new marriage equality law went into effect.

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WASHINGTON — The wedding ceremony of Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke began at Minneapolis City Hall at 11:38 p.m. July 31, 22 minutes before the city's mayor, R.T. Rybak, could legally marry the women.

Rybak opened City Hall for midnight weddings to usher in the first day that Minnesota's marriage equality law took effect. He personally married the women moments after midnight.

The moment — an hour after Rhode Island's marriage equality law took effect — made the state the 13th in the country, plus Washington, D.C., to allow same-sex couples to marry. It also marked a changed city in the long fight of gay and lesbian couples for legal recognition of their relationships.

Forty-three years ago, Richard Baker and James Michael McConnell were denied a marriage license in Minneapolis because they were both men. They sued to force the county to allow them to marry, but lost in an unceremonious dismissal of their appeal at the United States Supreme Court.

As the last minutes of Wednesday edged into Thursday, with the choir singing and City Hall filled with joyous onlookers, their cause saw its decades-delayed resolution.

David Brauer

@dbrauer

It is done. #mnmarriage

And food vendors!

Hungry samesex-marriage-lovin' mouths to feed (outside Mpls City Hall)

David Brauer

@dbrauer

Hungry samesex-marriage-lovin' mouths to feed (outside Mpls City Hall)

And the crowd was ready.

Balconies 1-4 at Minneapolis City Hall. Rail birds fill every slot hr before 1st Mn same-sex marriage.

David Brauer

@dbrauer

Balconies 1-4 at Minneapolis City Hall. Rail birds fill every slot hr before 1st Mn same-sex marriage.

The couple's ceremony began.

Soon brides-to-be reach the stage.

Eric Roper

@StribRoper

Soon brides-to-be reach the stage.

Then, the clock struck midnight. It was Aug. 1, and same-sex couples in Minnesota could now legally wed.

Gay marriage is now legal in Minnesota

Eric Roper

@StribRoper

Gay marriage is now legal in Minnesota

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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak made it official.

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And the crowd went wild.

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Then, Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson — the first male couple — had their wedding ceremony.

Now it's time for the first Mn gay men (since '70s) to get legally #samesex married!

David Brauer

@dbrauer

Now it's time for the first Mn gay men (since '70s) to get legally #samesex married!

After that, Rybak stayed on hand to conduct several more weddings.

Mayor Rybak will be officiating marriages for several more hours.

Eric Roper

@StribRoper

Mayor Rybak will be officiating marriages for several more hours.

Like this one — as still other weddings took place throughout City Hall.

Wedding #3 of the morning just happened. The first jewish one. Together 38 yrs!

Matt Stopera

@mattstopera

Wedding #3 of the morning just happened. The first jewish one. Together 38 yrs!

All in all, quite a change from 1970.

Minnesota Historical Society, R. Bertraine Heine / AP

In this May 18, 1970 photo provided by The Minnesota Historical Society, Mike McConnell, left, and Jack Baker, both 28, attempt to obtain a Hennepin County marriage license in Minneapolis. The couple was denied.

Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.

Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.

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