Freeborn County same-sex couple applies for marriage licensePublished 10:00am Friday, August 2, 2013
The Freeborn County Recorder’s Office received its first marriage license application by a same-sex couple Thursday.
Albert Leans Della Hill and Virginia Chadbourne said though they were looking forward to their upcoming wedding later this month they had mixed feelings about how the news would be received in the community.
They shared their names with the Tribune and agreed to have their photo taken, but they were hesitant for fear they could be the target of vandalism following their decision to be married. Marriage licenses are public documents, and being public about their love could be a hurdle for some gay couples to overcome.
In November 2012, 60 percent of Freeborn County voters voted to approve a constitutional amendment that would recognize marriage solely as between one man and one woman.
The support to ban gay marriage was weaker statewide, with only 47 percent of voters choosing to support the amendment.
Just months later, the Legislature voted to legalize gay marriage, which has drawn mixed support from area residents. The law went into effect Thursday.
Minnesota estimates about 5,000 gay couples will marry during the law’s first year. Minnesota and Rhode Island this week became the 12th and 13th states to legalize gay marriage across the country. Across the border, Iowa legalized it in 2009 after a court ruling. It was the third state to allow gay marriage.
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.
“I didn’t expect to cry quite that hard,” said a beaming Cathy ten Broeke, who with Margaret Miles was the first gay couple to wed at City Hall.
“We do,” the couple and their 5-year-old son, Louie, said to cheers as they promised to be a family.
Gov. Mark Dayton had proclaimed Aug. 1 to be “Freedom to Marry Day” in Minnesota. Celebrations in Rhode Island were more muted, which advocates said was probably because so many nearby states already allow same-sex marriage.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report