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Minnesota Gay Couple Loses Appeal To Have Their 1971 Marriage License Recognized

 

A  Minneapolis gay couple believed to be the first married in the United States in 1971 has lost another in a long line of battles to have their original marriage fully recognized. 

Jack Baker and Mike McConnell were married by a young Methodist minister in Mankato, MN in 1971. Baker had legally changed his name to the gender-neutral Pat Lynne McConnell to get the marriage license. By the time the state of MN figured  out that the bride was actually a male it was already too late. The two were officially married.

While Minnesota did try to null and void their marriage Baker and McConnell fought back furiously and predicted they would win eventually, but the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that their marriage was illegal. However, their license was never revoked

In September 2014, James McConnell mailed a letter to the Blue Earth County clerk and asked for a certified copy of the marriage certificate. The County Attorney’s Office informed McConnell that would not be possible,

A petition was filed in November 2016 requesting the district court order Blue Earth County to officially record the 1971 marriage license. The court refused and an appeal was filed.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has now upheld that refusal, pointing to the incorrect statements made on the marriage license application. The Court also found that the McConnell’s have not proven they have suffered a “particular harm” from not having their 1971 marriage recorded.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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