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First same-sex couples legally wed in Minnesota

Miles, left, watches as ten Broeke, in red, points into the crowd at City Hall with the couple's son, Louie.
Miles, left, watches as ten Broeke, in red, points into the crowd at City Hall with the couple's son, Louie.
B FRESH Photography

At 11:57 p.m. on July 31, Cathy ten Broeke and Margaret Miles were ready to be married. They had put on their dresses, walked down the grand staircase in the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda, and said their vows. Ten Broeke's voice had cracked as she recited, "as long as we both shall live"; Miles had punched out the "lawfully" in "lawfully wedded wife."

Mayor R.T. Rybak was ready to marry them. The hundreds of family, friends, and supporters gathered on all five levels of City Hall were ready to witness and to cheer. Minnesota, though, needed three more minutes.

See Also:
- Eight places to celebrate when love becomes the law on Aug. 1
- City Hall to open at midnight, Rybak to officiate weddings first night gay marriage is legal
- Save the Date: GLBT couples around Minnesota race to plan August weddings
- When will gay marriage be legal in Minnesota? After 42 years, the same-sex marriage debate in Minnesota might finally come to a close

"It is a tremendous honor to do what we are about to do," Rybak said, before laughing: "We will talk about this for a couple more minutes."

Mayor Rybak, who dreamed up the City Hall bash, was ordained as a Universal Life Church minister about six years ago.
Mayor Rybak, who dreamed up the City Hall bash, was ordained as a Universal Life Church minister about six years ago.
B FRESH Photography

The joyous crowd didn't seem to mind waiting for the official strike of August 1, the set day for same-sex marriage to become legal in Minnesota. Many had waited much longer: since May 14, when Gov. Mark Dayton signed the marriage equality bill. Since 2001, when ten Broeke and Miles first had a commitment ceremony. Since 1973 when, as one man near the back of the rotunda explained, he had marched in the Twin Cities' first Pride parade.

Now, they were gathered to see the culmination of months of work and hope. Many in the crowd wore wedding clothes -- suits and dresses -- but some had on the signature orange-and-blue of the Vote No campaign from November 2012, which, after the marriage amendment was defeated, transformed into a Vote Yes campaign to pass marriage equality.

The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus packed onto the grand staircase in the City Hall Rotunda.
The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus packed onto the grand staircase in the City Hall Rotunda.
Tony Nelson Photography

They had started streaming into City Hall around 10:30 p.m., and sang along with kick-off performer Erin Schwab to the familiar strains of "Chapel of Love," before going silent for the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus (whose members wore matching black "Marry Us" tees), and Jayanthi Kyle. They had heard addresses from Gov. Mark Dayton and Rybak.

They knew, thanks to printed schedules, that later in the night, Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson would be the second couple to step onto City Hall's grand staircase and exchange their vows. That more than 40 ceremonies for other couples would continue in the rotunda until 6 a.m. (Rybak ended up officiating 46 total), while 21 more happened in the City Council Chambers. And that the Hotel Minneapolis, just down the street, was throwing a well-deserved party that would go until sun-up.

Al Giraud, right, and Jeff Isaacson were the second of 42 couples whose wedding Mayor Rybak officiated on Thursday morning.
Al Giraud, right, and Jeff Isaacson were the second of 42 couples whose wedding Mayor Rybak officiated on Thursday morning.
B FRESH Photography

First, though, the crowd had to make it to midnight. After a musical interlude -- and some waving from ten Broeke and Miles's 5-year-old son, Louie -- at 12:00 a.m. on the morning of August 1, 2013, Rybak took the microphone again.

"By the power now finally vested in me by the laws of the people of Minnesota," he announced, "we hereby declare Margaret and Cathy legally married."

As the bride kissed the bride, the rotunda erupted in cheers.

Miles, left, and ten Broeke.
Miles, left, and ten Broeke.
Tony Nelson Photography

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