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Gay couples rush to wed under new Minn. marriage equality law

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — Dozens of gay couples began tying the knot early Thursday morning at Minneapolis City Hall as Minnesota became the latest state to legalize same-sex marriage.

“I didn’t expect to cry quite that hard,” said a beaming Cathy ten Broeke, who with Margaret Miles was the first gay couple to be wed at City Hall.

Stacy Bengs, AP
Margaret Miles, right, celebrates with wife Cathy ten Broeke, left, after they were married at the Minneapolis Freedom to Marry Celebration and Weddings, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at the Minneapolis City Hall.

After Miles and ten Broeke exchanged vows and rings just before midnight Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak had musicians kill a few minutes until the clock struck 12:01 a.m. Thursday, when the law went into effect.

Then the attending crowd burst into applause as Rybak pronounced Miles and ten Broeke married. The couple stood nearby embracing their 5-year-old son, Louie.

Stacy Bengs, AP
Al Giraud, right, wipes a tear from his eye as his partner Jeff Isaacson, left. reads his wedding vows as Mayor R.T. Rybak officiates their ceremony at the Minneapolis Freedom to Marry Celebration and Weddings at Minneapolis City Hall, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. They were among the first gay couples legally married in Minnesota.

Brian Peterson, Star Tribune/AP
Same-sex couple Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke kiss after they were married just after midnight Thursday Aug. 1, 2013 on the steps of the Rotunda at Minneapolis City Hall by Mayor R. T. Rybak and Reverend James Gertmenian, left.

Jim Gehrz, Star-Tribune/AP
Same-sex couple Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke were married Thursday Aug. 1, 2013 just after midnight on the steps of the Rotunda at Minneapolis City Hall by Mayor R. T. Rybak.

Richard Tsong-Taataarii, Star Tribune/AP
In the Sunken Gardens at the Como Zoo Park Zoo and Conservatory, St. Paul, MN, grooms Reid Bordson, right, and Paul Nolle, left got married after midnight Thursday Aug. 1, 2013 when gay marriages became legal in the state of Minnesota.

Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune/AP
Phil Oxman and Harvey Zuckman stood together as they proceeded down the stairs to be married after midnight at City Hall on Aug. 1, 2013, in Minneapolis, Minn.

Stacy Bengs, AP
The Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus sang on the steps inside Minneapolis City Hall on the eve of the first day of legal same-sex marriage in Minneapolis, Wednesday, July 31, 2013.

“We do,” all three said to more cheers as they promised to be a family.

Forty-two couples were expected to be married by Rybak and several Hennepin County judges in the hours before dawn.

Weddings were scheduled to start at the stroke of midnight at Minneapolis City Hall, St. Paul’s Como Park, Mall of America’s Chapel of Love and at county courthouses around the state. One group planned a cluster of weddings in a Duluth tavern.

“I don’t think either of us ever thought we’d see this day,” said Mike Bolin, of the Minneapolis suburb of Richfield, who was marrying Jay Resch, his partner of six years, at Minneapolis City Hall. “We met at low points in both of our lives, and to have arrived at this point — there’s going to be a lot of tears.”

Rhode Island was joining Minnesota on Thursday in becoming the 12th and 13th U.S. states to allow gay marriage, along with the District of Columbia. The national gay rights group Freedom to Marry estimates that about 30 percent of the U.S. population now lives in places where gay marriage is legal. The first gay weddings in Rhode Island were planned for later Thursday morning.

In Minnesota, budget officials estimated that about 5,000 gay couples would marry in the first year. Its enactment capped a fast turnabout on the issue in just over two years. After voters rejected a constitutional ban on gay marriage last fall, the state Legislature this spring moved to make it legal.

Rhode Island becomes the last New England state to allow same-sex marriage. Lawmakers in the heavily Catholic state passed the marriage law this spring, after more than 16 years of efforts by same-sex marriage supporters. Both Minnesota and Rhode Island will automatically recognize marriages performed in other states.

Bolin and Resch celebrated Wednesday night with several hundred others at Wilde Roast Cafe along the Mississippi River north of downtown Minneapolis. Many at the event planned to walk to City Hall for the mass nuptials.

Dayton proclaimed Aug. 1 to be “Freedom to Marry Day” in Minnesota.

Golden Valley-based General Mills Inc. donated Betty Crocker cakes for the event, which was also to feature performances by local musicians and services donated by wedding photographers, florists and other businesses.

Weddings were not limited to the Twin Cities. In St. Cloud, Stearns County court administrator Tim Roberts planned to marry a couple at 12:01 a.m. at the courthouse. “It feels historic. It’s an honor to be a part of it,” Roberts said. Midnight weddings were also planned for courthouses in Clay County, Polk County and elsewhere.

At Mall of America, Holli Bartelt and Amy Petrich from the southeastern Minnesota town of Wykoff were set to become the first couple married at the Chapel of Love. Owner Felicia Glass-Wilcox said she hoped to start the ceremony a few minutes early, so the vows could be pronounced seconds after midnight.

“We’d like for them to be able to say they are the very first married in the state, but for sure they’ll be able to say they’re one of the first,” Glass-Wilcox said. She said the chapel had four more gay couples booked for weddings in the next five days.

Bartelt, 33, proposed to Petrich, 37, in April in a photo booth at the Bloomington mall. It was a few weeks before the Legislature approved the law, but Bartelt said she was confident by then that it would pass. She had been in contact with a mall employee about the proposal, who later suggested the couple could be first to get married at the chapel.

Bartelt, a health coach, planned to wear an ivory-colored dress, while Petrich, a baker for Mayo Clinic, was wearing an ivory suit. A group of about 50 family members and close friends were planning to join them, including Bartelt’s 10-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.

“Everybody deserves the right to be happy,” said Bartelt. “That’s really what it’s all about. It’s a big day for us, and a big day for Minnesota, and something I hope my kids look back on some day and say, ‘Wow, we got to be part of that.’”

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75 more reader comments:

  1. Proud to be a Minnesotan!!! :D

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:46am
  2. Come on ND we need to step it up and push push push

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:47am
  3. Bout time! Whoop whoop!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:48am
  4. I paid tribute to MN tonight … and my peeps in NM were like huh? :) Posted the old 70-80 song “Minnesota” … :)

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:48am
  5. I hear wedding bells ringing ;)

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:51am
  6. CONGRATS!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:54am
  7. It´s wonderful & I´m happy to have the right to do so, that being said..don´t do it just because you can. Life is not a reality show. It should be taken very seriously. It is not the latest “look”!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:57am
  8. I´m so incredibly proud to be from Minnesota tonight!!! I´m proud of our loved ones, friends, and allies, everyone that put their heart into bringing us to this victorious day. So much love is here :)

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:12am
  9. I am so happy to see that, one by one, the states are seeing that ALL people are created EQUAL! One day, EVERY state will legally allow marriage for ALL people! We have come so far in recent years that I think the momentum will continue…<3

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:29am
  10. My partner Heather and I we at the first gay wedding at the Mall of America of Amy and Holli!!! It was amazing!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:54am
  11. This picture makes me so happy ❤

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:54am
  12. The joy on these women´s faces made me tear up! Praise God that people are able to enjoy their God-given right to marry! Just think, my own marriage would not have been valid/legal/condoned just 50 years ago. And I am the happiest I´ve ever been. 2 beautiful daughters and a Taurus granddaughter and true love! !!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:02am
  13. people are going to hate me tomorrow…i will be reposting as many of these happy couples as i can find. <3 weddings and happy couples <3

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:02am
  14. I was there for a little bit. I couldn´t see or hear anything, but I was there.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:08am
  15. Yay!!! Basic rights for everyone!!! I LOVE the pic of the lesbian couple with their son!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:08am
  16. It was beautiful……..now waiting for my brother and his partner to get married……… So happy

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:08am
  17. I am SO proud of my state.
    If the other states don´t want to pass equality, it´s cool.
    Minnesota wants all of your gays.
    Love is welcome here <3

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:10am
  18. <3

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:15am
  19. PROUD TO LIVE IN MINNESOTA <3

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:15am
  20. Minnesota? Hawaii, what are you waiting for?

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:26am
  21. wonderful

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:28am
  22. I hope someone got a video of the group singing

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:53am
  23. Congrats!!! Amy and Holli!!! Your wedding was special and wonderful!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 8:11am
  24. I understand that many couples have been waiting for years to finally get legally married so it´s understandable that they might rush to the occasion but having said that I would also express a genuine feeling of concern that many gay couples may rush into marriage too quickly in the excited frenzy of the historical moments and therefore open themselves up for disappointment and difficulties in the future. Marriage equality is a thing to be truly celebrated as any marriage between two people who truly love each other ought to be celebrated but caution should be taken lest some people rush headlong into such a binding commitment prematurely. Not being a naysayer, I am extremely exited about this news, just had this thought as I am not looking forward to the potential gay divorce rate reports coming in the future if we are not careful.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 8:21am
  25. @Ed Verbeke, we are getting married in October, do you think 26 years is long enough to wait? Or could we be “rushing into it”? ;) LOL

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 8:31am
  26. Yea these kind of snap decisions can lead to possible unending joy. hehehe. After that many years they should know weather it is a good idea or not. Rushing it is a few weeks or a few months of seeing each other. Not many years. I doubt many of the couples are making a rash move on getting married.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 8:47am
  27. Beautiful !

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 8:52am
  28. Love it!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 9:06am
  29. Don´t everybody get onto Ed. I understand what he is saying. He´s not talking about couples who have been together for years. He´s talking about the ones that haven´t been together for very long. And unfortunately, it will happen. Then all the opponents of marriage equality will say, “See. We told you they would ruin the sanctity of marriage.”

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 9:10am
  30. @Ann, historically, that hasn´t happened yet in any state.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 10:19am
  31. Lets also not forget the 48 hour marriage of Ms. Brittany Spears….lol

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 10:20am
  32. And how many “straight” marriages end in divorce? Oh yes, over 50 percent. Mistakes will always be possible!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 11:11am
  33. Yes we all know those people who have been married countless times my soon to be mother in law had six husbands – my exes grandmother outlived eight husbands (although it is speculated but not proven that she didn´t do so naturally) we all know couples who bring the uhaul and engagement ring on the second date – but I do not think this is what these marriages are about – people who judge don´t think about the years we have been denied the equality – my partner and I are traveling to Iowa today and getting married tomorrow – I work for the federal govt and finally after nearly ten years together I can finally add her to my benefits.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 11:18am
  34. Yes people who are against ´gay´ marriage will be quickly gathering statistics of how many gay couples get divorced – it will give them pleasure and ammunition so stand up and say ´we told you so´ — I say let them gather their numbers …. This has too much forward momentum to roll back now …

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 11:21am
  35. Minnesota surprisingly similar to new england culturally, I find it fitting that my state and Rhode Island legalize on the same day

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 11:22am
  36. I wonder if Michelle will attend? LOL

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 12:41pm
  37. Bill, many of these couples are legalizing long standing relationships of a decade or more!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:32pm
  38. Congrats Minnesota!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:39pm
  39. It all happened at the start of my birthday :) <3

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:46pm
  40. Love being gay

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:48pm
  41. Congratulations ladies…

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:49pm
  42. Awww how cute

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:52pm
  43. I think the whole USA should be like that.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:52pm
  44. come on Florida lets be next!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:54pm
  45. What a beautiful photo! Congrats ladies

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:55pm
  46. Great wedding kiss!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:56pm
  47. So happy states keep moving forward! Best wishes and congratulations to all the newly married couples!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:57pm
  48. wow so nice pic <3

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:58pm
  49. Wow, Congrats

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 2:00pm
  50. I wonder which dress Marcus Bachmann plans to wear.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 2:19pm
  51. Yeah!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 2:21pm
  52. Beautiful,, nothing less.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 2:34pm
  53. nice one!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 2:56pm
  54. Add me

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 3:01pm
  55. CONGRATULATIONS to the ladies and gentlemen of Minnesota that can now get married. Welcome to the 21st century Minnesota

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 3:01pm
  56. Now if we can just get the warmer states to get on board all will be good.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 3:12pm
  57. Love

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 3:27pm
  58. congrats! love that red dress!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:00pm
  59. Beautiful!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:36pm
  60. congratz yayy!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:38pm
  61. :´)

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:40pm
  62. Courtney Anderson-Ewald, :)

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:42pm
  63. Who would have ever thought that Minnesota woul beat California? Many congratulations.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:45pm
  64. I Love this !!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:49pm
  65. Kenda, they didn´t. We have been legally marrying here in CA since July 1, 2013. Prop H8 lost!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:07pm
  66. This is so beautiful. I love how they projected rainbow lights above the stained glass windows.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 5:32pm
  67. DISGUSTING! SATANIC! EVIL! The worlds is warped!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:54pm
  68. Oh dear God Almighty! Is that a priest marrying and clapping???!! They “”married”" in a church??!!?? Oh Lord, will he have much to answer for come judgement day!

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:58pm
  69. Francois Marx…On judgment day the Lord will applaud him for not being a hateful bigot, and for loving ALL of HIS children…

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:14pm
  70. I´d clap for love over hate and intolerance any day.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:30pm
  71. Picture of the couple is lovely. Those officiating are priceless. Nice to see such joy.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:37pm
  72. I guess some “conflicted” people of faith need to be reminded. This is for you, Francois, and God bless: 1 Corinthians 13:13 – Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:45pm
  73. Cool!…I just have no words…

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:59pm
  74. hermoso :)

    Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 9:53pm
  75. Why are ppl who have very little of nice things to say are on this page? If you only ´liked´ it so you can post Homophobic comments, then you might as well stand in front of Hell´s Gate expecting it to open for ´Sinners´ like ´ourselves´ but only to discover, it will open For You!

    Posted on Friday, August 2, 2013 at 12:23am