Quiet start to same-sex marriage in the Valley

The first day same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota apparently started quietly today in Washington County.

There was no evidence of any same-sex marriages being performed shortly after 12:01 this morning when same-sex marriage became legal. That was in contrast to Hennepin and Ramsey counties, where same-sex couples married in ceremonies at several government offices early this morning.

Jennifer Wagenius, director of the county’s Department Property Records and Taxpayer Services, said there was no increase in marriage license applications last week leading up to the state-mandated seven-day waiting period between a license application and wedding date. Late last week was the deadline for any couple to apply for marriage license in order to be married today.

Washington County Public Information Officer Yvonne Klinnert and the Courts Administrator Office officials also had no information on whether a same-sex couple requested to be married at the county courthouse this morning. Any marriage that might have been performed early this morning at the courthouse by a 10th Judicial District judge would have been arranged by the judge and the couple, according to the Court Administrator Office.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota in May after the measure was passed by the Legislature. Minnesota is the 13th state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage and joined Rhode Island in making same-sex marriages legal today.

Dayton Wednesday issued a proclamation Wednesday designating today “Freedom to Marry Day” in Minnesota.

Fourth District U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-St. Paul, a long-time supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, also praised the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

“Congratulations to all the couples who will profess their love and commitment, starting at midnight, when Minnesota will join a dozen other states that recognize same-sex marriages,” she said. “I am inspired by the dedication, compassion, and courage of my fellow Minnesotans who worked tirelessly to make marriage equality a reality in our state.

“Our state’s support for same-sex marriage rights represents yet another historic step in the fight for all LGBT Americans to be recognized and treated equally under the law,” McCollum added.