MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak plans to marry same-sex couples at City Hall the minute it becomes legal this summer, he said Thursday.
Rybak said he will begin officiating weddings just after midnight on Aug. 1, and plans to marry 40 couples throughout the early morning.
At a news conference in City Hall’s stately Italian marble-walled rotunda, Rybak introduced the first two same-sex Minneapolis couples he will marry, Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke, and Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson.
The couples are “people who have not had the right to be married, people who deserve the right to be married, and people who I believe represent all of the very best values of a city and state where love has always been the law,” Rybak said. “Love should have always been the law, I should say.”
Ten Broeke, 44, and Miles, 49, will be the first to be married, followed by Giraud, 42, and Isaacson, 48. After that, 38 other couples will be married until 6 a.m. on Aug. 1. Those couples already are signed up.
Rybak, a Democrat, became certified to perform weddings when friends asked him to marry them about eight years ago. He promised a “solemn and celebratory night.”
“This will not be a conveyor belt of love,” he said.
It’ll be a typically Minnesota celebration: Betty Crocker of Minneapolis-based General Mills is donating cakes, and Minneapolis musician Jeremy Messersmith and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus will perform. Conductor Philip Brunelle is arranging a wedding fanfare to be performed by the Copper Street Brass Quintet.
There also will be a photo booth and a large counter listing the times the couples have been waiting to legally marry, Rybak said.
“Years and years and years and maybe a century or two of waiting collectively for all of these couples,” he said.
Ten Broeke, who is the director of Minnesota’s ongoing initiative called Prevent and End Homelessness, choked up as she spoke. She and Miles met as co-workers at St. Stephen’s Human Services in Minneapolis and had a commitment ceremony in 2001. The couple has a 5-year-old son, Louie.
Ten Broeke thanked the mayor for his efforts to pass the Freedom to Marry Law, which made Minnesota the first Midwestern state to legalize gay marriage by a legislative vote. Governor Mark Dayton signed the law in May.
In rulings Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law, the Defense of Marriage Act, and cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California.
“Yesterday was like walking outside into the bright light of love and justice. Our country, too, honoring the love and devotions that we share, giving us the legal support and protection that every family wants and deserves,” ten Broeke said.
Big sports fans, Giraud and Isaacson met in September 2002 at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game and held a commitment ceremony in 2005 in Tampa, Fla., where they lived at the time. Isaacson, a Minneapolis native, persuaded his partner, a Florida native, to move to Minneapolis in 2008.
“August 1st, we can’t wait,” Giraud said. He said both men plan to wear tuxedoes.
Ten Broeke and Miles said they’ll wear the same dresses they wore at their commitment ceremony — ten Broeke in red silk, Miles in black.
“And we’re proud to say we still fit in them,” Miles said.
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