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As Minn. readies for gay marriage, watch the first gay wedding – from 42 years ago

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

At midnight on Thursday, August 1, when Minnesota becomes the 12th U.S. state where same-sex marriage is legal, at least one Minneapolis couple will not be saying their vows. They already did — 42 years ago.

R. Bertraine Heine, Minnesota Historical Society/AP
In this May 18, 1970 photo, Mike McConnell, left, and Jack Baker, both 28, attempt to obtain a Hennepin County marriage license in Minneapolis.

Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were pioneers in the fight for marriage equality, and are believed to be the first gay couple to marry in the United States whe they wed in 1971 after obtaining a marriage license in Mankato, Minn.

A year earlier, they were denied a marriage license in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Supreme Court Baker eventually ruled their marriage “invalid,” claiming “the institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation or rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.”

Forty-two years later, Baker and McConnell are still together, still living in Minneapolis, and still married.

WCCO-TV has more on their story, exclusive footage of that first gay wedding in the U.S., and an interview with retired Pastor Roger Lynn, the “gay hippie pastor” who married them.


Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed the marriage equality bill, passed by the state legislature, on May 14.

The law goes into effect on Thursday, and some county offices and cities plan to open early to issue and officiate same-sex ceremonies.

same-sex marriage becomes legal in Rhode Island on Thursday as well, although offices will not be opening early.

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