Reporting Kate Raddatz
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In less than 24 hours, same-sex couples can legally get married in Minnesota.
Some couples are not wasting any time. They are getting married at 12:01 Thursday morning. It will be a busy night both in Minneapolis and St. Paul as both cities have large events planned.
In St. Paul, the doors will open at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at the State Capitol rotunda for a Freedom to Marry celebration. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to make an appearance at about 11:15 p.m. and make some comments.
This past May, Gov. Dayton signed the bill into law on the steps of the State Capitol. The Minnesota Legislature passed the bill in the spring, just months after Minnesotans voted down a proposed Constitutional amendment to try and define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Across the river in Minneapolis, Mayor R.T. Rybak will marry 42 same-sex couples in City Hall from 12:01 a.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. The first couples he will marry are Margaret Miles and Cathy TenBrooke, then Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson.
Also, Hennepin County Judges will be marrying 21 couples in Minneapolis City Council chambers during the night. Businesses are donating flowers, photography, wedding cakes and music for these historic weddings.
Also at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the Chapel of Love at Mall of America will hold its first same-sex wedding. Same-sex couples who were married in other states will also automatically be considered legally married in Minnesota at 12:01.
Same-sex Marriage also becomes legal in Rhode Island on Thursday, making Rhode Island and Minnesota will be the 12th and 13th states to legalize gay marriage.
Whether you’re in a heterosexual marriage or same-sex marriage, there’s going to be some talk of what the new law will do to the state’s divorce rate. We sat down with Attorney Eric Newmark, who said so far studies have shown in states where same-sex marriage is allowed, the divorce rate is actually lower among those couples than it is between opposite sex couples.
Newmark said where things get complicated is in most states that allow same-sex marriage you don’t have to be a resident to get married there, but it’s a different story when it comes to ending it. In Minnesota, just one person needs to be a resident for six months.
“For example if you live in St. Croix County, Wis., and you come here to get married, move back to Wisconsin and it doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, you’re not going to be able to get your divorce most likely in Wisconsin. And you’re not going to be able to come back to Minnesota because you have to be a resident for six months,” Newmark said.
Newmark also said the 15 states with the highest divorce rates don’t allow same-sex marriage. The state with the lowest divorce rate is Massachusetts, which was also the first state to allow it.