Minnesota is kicking-off the first day of legal same-sex marriage in state history with Wednesday night festivities and 42 weddings at Minneapolis City Hall officiated by Mayor R.T. Rybak.
Following a 75-59 vote in the House and a 37-30 vote in the Senate, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage and the first Midwestern state to pass it by a legislative vote.
The new law includes legal protections for religious groups that do not wish to marry same-sex couples, which means the law allow churches to perform marriages at their own discretion.
FREEDOM TO MARRY CELEBRATION
On Thursday, Aug. 1 at 12:01 a.m., same-sex marriage will officially be legal in Minnesota, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is set to officiate 42 weddings in the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda.
At 1 a.m., Hennepin County judges will marry an additional 21 same-sex couples in the Minneapolis City Council Chambers in City Hall.
The doors of City Hall will be open to 300 event ticket holders at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, a special program beginning 15 minutes later. Ceremonies are expected to continue through 6 a.m.
If you don't have tickets, you can watch the events streaming live at http://www.theuptake.org.
DAYTON TO ATTEND GAY MEN'S CHORUS
Governor Mark Dayton is scheduled to attend the Gay Men's Chorus concert at Minneapolis City Hall as part of the Wednesday night festivities, but is leaving for Milwaukee on Thursday morning for a governors conference.
Earlier on Wednesday, Dayton also issued a proclamation that Aug. 1 will be "Freedom to Marry Day" in Minnesota, citing the Declaration of Independence, the Fourteenth Amendment and deeply-held ideals of liberty and justice in protecting the freedom of all people to marry the person they love.
LAWMAKERS CONGRATULATE NEWLYWEDS
On Wednesday, a video congratulating the newlyweds tying the knot on Aug. 1 was released featuring a group of Minnesota lawmakers.
The Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus posted the video, which can be viewed at the bottom of this webpage. The following lawmakers participated in its creation:
- Sen. Patricia Torres Ray
- Sen. John Marty
- Sen. Terri Bonoff
- Sen. Jim Carlson
- Sen. Chuck Wiger
- Sen. Roger Reinert
- Sen. Chris Eaton
- Sen. Kevin Dahle
- Sen. Katie Sieben
- Sen. Scott Dibble
Dozens of people, from photographers and musicians to hotels and judges, have donated their time and services toward the first legal same-sex weddings in Minneapolis this Aug 1.
CHAPEL OF LOVE
The Chapel of Love in Mall of America will hold a same-sex wedding at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.
Holli Bartelt and Amy Petrich of Wykoff, Minn. will be the first two who wed in the venue.
The couple has been together for two years and got engaged in a Mall of America photo booth. Bartelt's two children, ages 9 and 10, will be in attendance dressed in blue and orange to represent marriage equality.
COMO ZOO NUPTUALS
Eleven couples have planned their weddings for Thursday at St. Paul's Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. The first will take place at midnight -- the first midnight wedding ever held at the venue, and the last will wrap up at midnight on Thursday.
Instead of mass ceremonies, Como Zoo offered their usual 90-minute reservations. Two weddings are set to commence at 8 a.m., and the others will take place throughout the course of the day.
The day will be the busiest for weddings in the history of the Como Zoo Conservatory.