Davina Kotulski

A History Lesson on Marriage Equality in Minnesota

Filed By Davina Kotulski | May 15, 2013 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, LGBT history lessons, marriage equality, Minnesota, same-sex marriage

Minnesota has been a key state in the marriage equality movement since the beginning of the movement. minnesota1.jpgThe very first same-sex marriage court case in the United States, Baker v. Nelson, was filed in 1971 in Minnesota.

In the spring of 1970, two gay men, Richard Baker and James McConnell, applied for a marriage license. They were denied the request by the county clerk, Gerald Nelson, because they were two men.

Unwilling to take "no" for an answer, the couple filed a lawsuit on the grounds that Minnesota did not explicitly outlaw marriage between members of the same-sex. Baker and McConnell 's case made it all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that by being denied the right to marry they were also being denied the right to Due Process, as well as their 14th and 9th Amendment rights. However, the Supreme Court dismissed their case in 1972.

I honor these courageous love warriors who were willing to stand up to unjust laws and to put a face and a name on the marriage equality cause four decades ago. I have no idea if these unsung gay heroes are still alive today. If they are, I hope they are celebrating the fact that Minnesota is now the 12th state in the nation to recognize same-sex couples' fundamental right to marry.

Same-sex couples can exchange "you betchas" and "I dos" come August 1st.


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