Reporting Pat Kessler
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — What a difference a year makes. Last fall, we were talking about an amendment to ban same-sex marriages. Now, they’re official.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak married a total of 46 couples overnight in a marathon session starting when the law became official at 12:01 a.m. — and ending around 6:45 a.m. Thursday morning.
We’re told those couples waited a combined 734 years to be legally married.
It was a transformational night for Minnesota. The new law legalizing same-sex marriage going into effect at midnight. And it was a night of extraordinary stories for families who are finally legal.
For the hundreds of couples now legally married in Minnesota, the moment was not only life changing, it was historic.
“I feel honored that we could be part of this historic night,” said Cathy ten Broeke, of Minneapolis.
In extraordinary scenes that played out across Minnesota, same-sex couples were married in festive, emotional ceremonies.
At the Mall of America’s Chapel of Love, Holli and Amy Petrich dressed their two children in the blue and orange colors of the group that defeated a gay marriage ban just last year.
“It’s almost like surreal,” Holli said. “Like, we’re been waiting for this moment and now it’s here. It’s like we’re on a cloud.”
And in St. Paul, a solemn midnight ceremony at the Como Park Conservatory.
“To know we’re the first official wedding in the capitol city, where all this political action happened, is just insane,” said Paul Nolle.
Minneapolis City Hall was open all night long with Mayor Rybak officiating at the weddings of 46 couples, drawing cheers as each was legally married for the first time.
Margaret and Cathy — enclosing their 5-year-old son in the love of a family.
“By the power finally invested in me,” Rybak said, “by the laws of the people of Minnesota, we do hereby declare that Margaret and Cathy are legally married.”
Cathy said it’s more than a bond between two people.
“Margaret and I, we were so committed before this day, but I think what feels different is that Minnesota is now committed to us,” she said.
Around the Twin Cities, wedding parties continued through the night.
Lynn Larsen and Linda Alton were another couple, finally legal.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had a celebration outside of our heads and our hearts,” she said.
For Brad Weber and Ryan Pfeifle, the newly married men had one heck of a party in their backyard.
“We had guests coming out of our ears,” Weber said.
Pfeifle said it was simply “awesome.”
“Everybody in the patio was just clapping and cheering, whooping it up,” Pfeifle said.
What started 14 years ago with a late-night conversation at Perkins, became official at midnight.
Two states made gay marriage legal on Thursday — Rhode Island became the 12th state, Minnesota the 13th.
Minnesota budget officials estimate about 5,000 same-sex couples will get married in the first year of the new law.