MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In just about seven hours, same-sex couples will be able to legally marry in Minnesota. And dozens of couples have decided not to put it off and are getting married right after midnight.

Minneapolis Florist Roger Beck is donating the flowers to decorate Minneapolis City Hall. Mayor R.T. Rybak will officiate 42 weddings there starting right at midnight.

Hennepin County Judges will marry another 21 couples at City Hall starting at 1 a.m.

For those couples tying the knot tonight — this has been a busy and very emotional day.

Phil Oxman and Harvey Zuckman dropped by Roger Beck Florists in Minneapolis to pick up their boutonnieres.

Both said they are really excited, after waiting 38 years for this moment.

“It’s hard to believe it’s really happening,” Zuckman said. “I never thought this would happen in my lifetime — never.”

Beck said he’s donating the flowers for the City Hall ceremony because he wanted to be part of history.

“It’s incredibly important to me having grown up gay,” he said. “This is a huge deal.”

While Oxman and Zuckman are planning a larger, more elaborate wedding in May, they wanted to be part of this first day, too.

“Right from the start, we wanted to be able to celebrate this event with people and what better way to do it than this,” Oxman said.

His sister and two cousins flew in from out of town for the ceremony — it’s an emotional day for them, too.

“It’s very emotional,” Pam Oxman said. “They have been together so long and they deserve to be recognized just the same as a straight couple.”

And it’s not just family and friends who will be here tonight — the city gave away 300 tickets for people who just wanted to come and witness these weddings, even if they did not know anyone getting married.

The tickets went very, very fast — people just wanted to witness history.

Opponents of gay marriage have been very quiet on Wednesday. The Minnesota Catholic Conference said they stick by the statement they issued back in May when the bill passed. That statement said gay marriage is an injustice that tears at the fabric of society.

Esme Murphy

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