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Dozens of gay couples wed in Minnesota as 13th state legalizes marriage

Governor Mark Dayton praises couples’ courage

Gay weddings began in Minnesota just after midnight on Aug 1. Still from a video by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Credit: startribune.com

Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke were married just seconds after midnight Aug 1 on the marble steps of Minneapolis City Hall, the first gay couple married in Minnesota.

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak officiated the ceremony, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Dozens of other couples married across the state early this morning as Minnesota became the 13th state in the United States to legalize gay marriage.

Governor Mark Dayton signed the legalization bill in May, only months after Republicans barely failed to etch a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution.

“You and all the LGBT community throughout Minnesota . . . had the courage to stand up and say we want the same rights as every other American,” Dayton told the crowd in Minneapolis early Thursday morning. “It’s a constitutional right, a moral right.”

State officials expect 5,000 gay couples to marry in Minnesota this year.

As NPR reports, Minnesota is still a deeply divided state. Gay marriage was championed by urban Minnesotans, despite the objections of many rural counties. When a ban on gay marriage was proposed last fall, 75 of Minnesota’s 87 counties supported it. The heavily populated regions of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, however, won the day.

Rhode Island followed close on the heels of Minnesota Aug 1, the Associated Press reports.

While the first Minnesotan couple was married at midnight, Rhode Islanders had to wait until city clerk’s offices opened at 8:30 this morning to be married.

With the passage of the law in Rhode Island, all six New England states now recognize same-sex marriages.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church showed up at city hall in Cranston, Rhode Island, to protest,  the Providence Journal reports. The small group of protesters were quickly countered by a much larger crowd of jubilant supporters who arrived to cheer on the newly wed gay couples.