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Minnesota State Offers Legal Marriage
by Demian
© November 20, 2013, Demian

Legal marriage for same-sex couples in Minnesota State became available on July 1, 2013, and began issuing its own certificates on August 1, 2013.

52.6 percent of state voters rejected a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in November 2012. The Minnesota Legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill in May 2013, which Governor Mark Dayton signed on May 14, 2013.

Marriage Rationale
Article from a Political Leader
Regulations & Links to Official State Instructions
Further Resources

Marriage Rationale

Allowing committed same-sex couples to get married does not change the meaning of marriage. It changes who has access.

Civil marriage for same-sex couples does not affect religious marriages, religious institutions or clergy in any way. No legal marriage law has ever required any religion to be forced to marry same-sex couples, or recognize same-sex marriages within the context of their religious beliefs.

What defines a marriage is love and commitment, and the ability to protect your family. Marriage strengthens all families. It gives couples the tools and the security to build a life together and to protect their family.

Couples marry because they want to be together through sickness and health, when times are good and when things get tough. State and federal marriage laws provide a safety net of legal and economic protections for married couples and their children – including the ability to visit a spouse in the hospital, and to transfer property, which can mean being able to remain in the family home when a spouse has passed away.

While there have been attempts to create marriage-like relationship systems — Domestic Partnership registrations and Civil Unions — they don’t provide the same security and protections on a national level.



Baker v. Nelson — brought by launched by Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell — was the first suit in United States history in which a same-sex couple sued for the right to have a legal marriage. In 1971, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Minnesota’s laws prohibited marriages between same-sex partners, and did not violate the federal constitution. On October 10, 1972, the Supreme Court, declining to hear the case on appeal, issued a one-sentence order that said: “The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.”

In 1976, the couple sued the Veterans Administration demanding an increase to Richard Baker’s educational benefits, claiming James McConnell was his dependent spouse. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that suit.

Richard Baker again sued on behalf of his partner, James McConnel, to have their 1971 marriage legally recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, claiming that the couple was owed a refund of almost $800. U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen dismissed the suit on January 3, 2005, saying the two were not lawfully married in Minnesota. Baker stated he intended to appeal.

In May 2010, gay rights organization Marry Me Minnesota sued Minnesota State, challenging the state’s “Defense of Marriage Act,” which was passed in 1997. The trial court dismissed the suit in March 2011, citing Baker v. Nelson as “binding precedent.” Marry Me Minnesota, appealed the decision.

Anti-Gay/Lesbian Constitutional Ban Efforts

In 1997, the state legislature passed a statutory ban on same-sex marriage shortly after passage of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009, bills were introduced into the Minnesota House and Senate to have the voters consider an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman, and outlawing civil unions that offer comparable rights.

On May 11, 2011, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill to place a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot that would ban same-sex marriage, though not civil unions. The question being presented to voters on the ballot reads: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”

The amendment would later be defeated by Minnesota voters, making Minnesota the second US state to reject a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Arizona rejected a ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions in 2006, later it adopted a ban on same-sex marriages in 2008.

On November 6, 2012, a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, passed by the legislature in 2011, was rejected by 52.6 percent of voters. Minnesota became the second state to reject such a ban through popular referendum.

Pro-Marriage Equility Bill

Late in 2008, State Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville), announced plans to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

On February 19, 2009 a bill to allow civil unions in Minnesota was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives sponsored by Reps. Joe Mullery, Mindy Greiling, and Tom Tillberry.

On March 5, 2009, a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Minnesota was introduced in the Minnesota Senate, by Senators John Marty, Scott Dibble, Linda Higgins, Mee Moua, and Patricia Torres Ray. The bill failed to get a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In December 2012, Representative Alice Hausman and Senator John Marty announced plans to introduce same-sex marriage legislation in 2013.

In January 2013, Dibble said Democrats planned to focus early in the session on “kitchen-table issues” of improving the economy and creating jobs and would wait at least a month or two before pressing for the legalization of same-sex marriage. On February 28, 2013, HF 1054, officially titled “Marriage between two persons provided for, and exemptions and protections based in religious associations provided for,” was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage.

On March 12, both the Senate and House policy committees passed the same version of the marriage bill, Senate bill SF925 and House Bill HF1054. The legislation also gives Minnesota courts authority over divorce proceedings in the case of a same-sex couple married in Minnesota, when neither party resides in a state that recognizes their marriage.

Other committees of each house reviewed the financial impact of the legislation on 6 and 7 May. On May 9, 2013, the House passed same-sex marriage legislation 75-59, with all but two Democrats voting for the bill, and all but four Republicans voting against.

On May 13, 2013, the Senate passed the bill 37-30, with all but three Democrats voting for the bill, and all but one Republican voting against.

Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law on May 14, 2013; it took effect on August 1, 2013.

At midnight on August 1, 2013, before just under 1,000 people in the marble rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall, Margaret Miles, 49, and Cathy ten Broeke, 44, became the first same sex couples to be legally married in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The couple has been together 12 years, and were accompanied by their 5-year-old son, Louie. The second couple was Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson, who have been together for 11 years. 46 of the weddings this morning were officiated by Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, between midnight and 7am. 21 more marriages took place in the City Council Chambers.

Article from a Political Leader

Children of God
Floor speech presented the day the Minnesota House of Representatives passed Marriage Equality
by Minnesota State Representative Tim Faust (DFL) District: 11B,
and pastor of the Zion Lutheran Churches in Hinckley and Markville
May 9, 2013

Well, I have to start by admitting, not too long ago, I probably would have voted “no” on this bill. But, in the past, there’s been a couple things that have changed my mind on this. The first one is, in the last ten years I've had conversations with hundreds, and, I guess, now its in the thousands of people about this issue, and in ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time, the people that are opposed to gay marriage, at some point in their discussion always say “My Bible says.”

If this is the reason, or the rationale, for being opposed to this, or for why this law is currently in place, the question that keeps going through my mind, over and over again, is “Do we as a society have the right to impose our religious beliefs on somebody else?”

A right that I have taken for granted, and most of the people in this room have taken for granted, since the day we realized what the opposite sex is.

That is a right that I've taken for granted for a long time, and yet some people, because of other’s religious beliefs, do not have that right.

The other thing that happened was last summer I got married. Before that, I had dated a woman for four years, and she was a wonderful woman. I realized after four years, that I could have married her, and I would’ve been happily married to her for the rest of my life. But I also realized, I could be happy without her.

I decided, after four years, that I wasn’t gonna marry somebody I could live with. If I got married again, it was gonna be to somebody I could not live without. So we broke up.

In a few months, I met my wife, and it didn’t take me very long to realize this was somebody I could not live without; and how lucky I am. How lucky we are.

And yet, in this state, there are people that feel that way about each other, that cannot live without another person, that feel the same way they do about each other that I feel about my wife, and yet because of religious beliefs of other people, they do not have the right to that I have taken for granted, since the day I realized what the opposite sex was.

This last weekend, I was at a Senate assembly, and a young man got up and he spoke about courage. While he was speaking my mind wandered (I hate to admit that, but it wandered), to the courage that it takes today to vote for this bill when the majority of the people in my district do not agree with this.

Then my mind wandered even further, to the young man or woman that, every day, has to get up and go to school knowing that they are going to be picked on; knowing they’re gonna be called names; knowing that there’s a good chance they may get beat up, because they are who God made them to be - children of God - brothers and sisters of ours - children of God. Yet they do not have the same rights that we do.

Today, we have the opportunity, the opportunity to give a part of our population, fellow brothers and sisters of God, the same rights that most of us have taken for granted, since the day we knew what the opposite sex was. Please vote to give them that right.

Regulations & Links to Official State Instructions

Minnesota Marriage License Regulations

  • No residency requirement.
  • You must provide proper identification, such as your driver’s license or a state ID card, along with providing your Social Security numbers.
  • If either of you has a felony conviction, proof of your service papers need to be provided.
  • If you were previously married, you must be able to provide information such as “the party’s married name, and the date, place and court in which the marriage was dissolved or annulled, or the date and place of death of the former spouse.”
  • No marriage to a cousin.
  • Minnesota has a waiting period of 5 working days. This waiting period can be waived by a district judge if the circumstances are considered to be “extraordinary.”
  • Fees:
        $40 for those who take an authorized *premarital education course (minimum 12 hours).
        $115 fee for those who don’t provide written proof of 12 hours of premarital education.
  • Call before you leave to get your marriage license application to make sure that the fee hasn’t changed. Be prepared to pay in cash.
  • No blood tests.
  • No proxy marriages. However, if only one of you can be in person to apply for the marriage license, you can fill out a “Supplemental to Application for Marriage License for Party Not Appearing” as long as all the required information for the absent partner is provided. Call the Clerk of Court to see how to get your partner’s signature notarized. Requirements may vary from county to county.
  • No “Common Law” marriage.
  • Spouses who are 16 and 17 years old need parental consent or court approval.
  • Officiants include: Judges, clerks of court, court commissioners, and licensed ministers, priests or rabbis, as well as representatives of Bahai, Hindu, Quaker and American Indian religious groups are authorized to perform weddings in Minnesota.
  • You will need at least 2 witnesses at your wedding ceremony. The witnesses must be at least 16 years of age.
  • License is valid for 6 months.
[*The premarital education course must use a premarital inventory, teaching about communication skills, and conflict management skills. Minnesota Statute: “The premarital education must be provided by a licensed or ordained minister or the minister’s designee, a person authorized to solemnize marriages under section 517.18, or a person authorized to practice marriage and family therapy under section 148B.33.”)]
Links to Official State Marriage License Instructions

Further Resources

Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage

Netherlands (2001)
Belgium (2003)
Canada (2005)
Spain (2005)
South Africa (2005)
Norway (2009)
Sweden (2009)
Iceland (2010)
Argentina (2010)
Portugal (2010)
Denmark (2012)
France (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
Brazil (2013)
Uruguay (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
United Kingdom
(England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
Luxembourg (2014)
Finland (2014)
Ireland (2015)
United States (2015)
Colombia (2016)
Germany (2017)
Taiwan (2017)
Malta (2017)
Australia (2017)
US States & Territories
U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, 2015 Ruling: All U.S. States must allow same-sex couples legal marriage.

Massachusetts (2004)
California (2008)
Connecticut (2008)
Iowa (2009)
Vermont (2009)
New Hampshire (2009)
District of Columbia (2009)
New York (2011)
Maine (2012)
Washington (2012)
Maryland (2013)
Rhode Island (2013)
Delaware (2013)
Minnesota (2013)
Illinois (2013)
Utah (2013)
New Jersey (2013)

Hawaii (2013)
New Mexico (2013)
Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Oregon (2014)
Wisconsin (2014) Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Pennsylvania (2014)
Indiana (2014)
Nevada (2014)
Virginia (2014)
Oklahoma (2014)
Idaho (2014)
West Virginia (2014)
Alaska (2014)
Arizona (2014)
Wyoming (2014)
Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Florida (2014)
Colorado (2014)
North Carolina (2014)
South Carolina (2014)
Montana (2014)
Alabama (2015)
Native American Tribes

Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan (2014)
Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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