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FREEDOM TO MARRY DAY! Minnesota Gov. Marks Aug. 1 in Honor of New Gay Marriage Law

MinnesotaThursday dozens of same-sex couples exchanged vows in Minnesota and Rhode Island Thursday August 1, 2013. At the stroke of mid-night the vows were exchanged when marriage equality became legal in those two states.

Zachary Marcus and Gary McDowell were married Thursday afternoon at Providence City Hall by Mayor Angel Taveras. McDowell, 28, a Harvard Medical School researcher, was born in Northern Ireland. The recent Supreme Court decision striking down a law denying federal benefits to married gay couples means he can petition for permanent residency.

“It was important for us that it be the first day,” said Marcus, 25, a Brown University medical student. “It’s a personal day for us, and it’s also a great political victory.”

As of Thursday, same-sex couples can marry in 13 states and in Washington, D.C. The national gay rights group Freedom to Marry estimates that 30 percent of the U.S. population now lives in places where gay marriage is legal.

In Minneapolis, an estimated 1,000 people packed into City Hall at midnight to celebrate 46 same-sex weddings officiated by Mayor R.T. Rybak. Several Hennepin County judges performed 21 more in the City Council’s chambers.

Gov. Mark Dayton had proclaimed Aug. 1 to be “Freedom to Marry Day” in Minnesota.

This is a great advancement for the mid-west! Living in Michigan, this once again stirs up hope that Michigan will soon be next.

My hope and goal is that marriage equality will be so common that we will no longer need a “Freedom to Marry Day”. Until then, congratulations Minnesota and Rhode Island, and LGBT citizens in Minnesota, I’ll be celebrating with and for you next Freedom to Marry Day.

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