News & Politics

Gay Marriage Approval Continues Sweep Across the Country

Rhode Island and Minnesota become latest states to legalize same sex marriage.

In a delightful show of exuberance proving that, yes, gay people really did want to get married that badly after all, dozens of same sex couples began tying the knot as early as possible on Thursday morning at the Minneapolis City Hall, as August 1 marked the day that Minnesota—as well as Rhode Island—joined the growing ranks of states to legalize same-sex marriage.

The two became the 12th and 13th states to allow gay marriage, along with the District of Columbia. In Minneapolis, 42 couples were expected to be married just hours before dawn. At the Minneapolis City Hall, St. Paul's Como Park, Mall of America's Chapel of Love and country courthouses all over the state, a number of weddings were scheduled to start at the stroke of midnight, the moment the law went into effect. 

National gay rights group Freedom to Marry estimates that about 30 percent of the U.S. population now lives in places where gay marriage is legal—a mind-blowing stat that speaks to the pervasive wave of change occurring country-wide. In Minnesota alone, budget officials estimated that roughly 5,000 gay couples would marry in just the first year. This comes after voters rejected a constitutional ban on gay marriage last fall, with the state Legislature moving to make it legal this past Spring.

Rhode Island's victory is especially notable, as it became the last New England state to allow same-sex marriage. Noted for its predominantly Catholic population, Rhode Island passed the law more than 16 years after efforts by same-sex marriage supporters began. Both Minnesota and Rhode Island will recognize marriages performed in other states, effective immediately. 

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.

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