Rhode Island, Minnesota to marry same-sex couples
Same-sex couples in two more states can now officially tie the knot.
Rhode Island and Minnesota became the 12th and 13th states to legally recognize same-sex marriages on Aug. 1. The first ceremony in Minnesota occurred just after midnight, and Rhode Island began marrying homosexual couples early Thursday morning, according to a Washington Post report.
“It feels historic. It’s an honor to be a part of it,” Tim Roberts, the Stearns County Minn., court administrator told the Post before performing a 12:01 a.m. ceremony in St. Cloud.
According to Reuters, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak married the state’s first same-sex couple, Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke, in the rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall before a crowd of nearly 1,000 cheering people.
The Post reports state budget officials estimate about 5,000 gay Minnesotan couples will marry in the first year.
Rhode Island was the last state in New England to officially recognize same-sex marriage. State representative Frank Ferri, who helped push same-sex marriage legalization, plans to remarry his partner of three decades, Tony Carparco, according to Reuters.
Although the two men wed seven years ago while vacationing in Canada, Ferri told Reuters a ceremony in their home state would be more meaningful.
Attitudes regarding same sex unions appear to be changing. CNN reports that 53 percent of Americans think same-sex unions should be legal. In 1996, that number was 27 percent.
States allowing homosexual marriage currently include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington D.C., according the activist group Freedom to Marry.
Six states offer “broad protections short of marriage,” according to the group. Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey allow civil unions; Oregon and Nevada offer broad domestic partnerships; and Wisconsin offers limited partnerships.
CNN reports that 29 states define marriage as a “relationship between a man and a woman.” However, some are pushing to alter that definition. The Washington Post reports gay rights advocates on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit in Virginia to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The state will contest the suit.