Listen: Evening celebration launches same sex marriage law

MPR’s Conrad Wilson compiles reactions of Minnesotans at the State Capitol after Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill making gay marriage legal in Minnesota.


text | pdf |

SPEAKER 1: Many same-sex couples in Minnesota are looking forward to August the 1st, when the law legalizing gay marriage goes into effect. Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill yesterday afternoon. More than 6,000 people witnessed the unusual outdoor signing ceremony. Conrad Wilson was there. He's filed this report.

CONRAD WILSON: An hour before the bill signing, a crowd of a few hundred had already gathered on the Capitol lawn, many under a tree taking shelter from the hot sun. Two middle-aged men stood arm-in-arm in the shade.

PAUL MENDEZ: Watch the history-making, waiting for the governor to sign the bill into law.

CONRAD WILSON: That's Paul Mendez. He and Ross Algaard met in Minneapolis in 2004. Algaard says even though they got married in Iowa in 2010--

ROSS ALGAARD: We're excited for August 1 to arrive, and finally have it recognized here in our resident state. So we're really excited about everything.

CONRAD WILSON: As the hour passed, the crowd grew. Rainbow flags and signs supporting marriage equality dotted the tightly packed crowd. Lawmakers began emerging from the Capitol to cheers of onlookers. They lined up behind a desk where the bill was to be signed. Then Governor Dayton walked on.


MARK DAYTON: What a day for Minnesota, huh?


CONRAD WILSON: Dayton reminded the crowd that just last year, the state was voting on whether to change the constitution, defining marriage between one man and one woman. The governor thanked lawmakers for their political courage. And he said the country's most important progress had been to extend equal rights and protections to all.

MARK DAYTON: That progress has often been difficult, controversial, and initially divisive. However, it has always been the next step ahead to fulfilling this country's promise to every American. So it is now my honor to sign into law this next step for the state of Minnesota, to fulfill its promise to every Minnesotan.


CONRAD WILSON: With that, Dayton sat down and signed the bill that legalizes same-sex marriage into law. Representative Karen Clark and Senator Scott Dibble, both main sponsors of the bill, also spoke. The ceremony was emotional for some. Christopher Bineham says he worked on the campaign to defeat the amendment to ban gay marriage last fall.

CHRISTOPHER BINEHAM: I think today is just wonderful. I think it sends a message to the whole world, really, that gay and lesbian couples and their families are welcome here. It sends a message to the children of gay and lesbian families that their families are recognized and important. And it sends a message that we really honor love and family and commitment in this state.

CONRAD WILSON: As the ceremony ended and the crowd melted away from the Capitol, many headed into downtown St. Paul for a city-organized concert. The Suburbs, POS, and the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus all performed. Laura Vanderwegen was at the concert with her partner, Polly Foss, and their five-year-old daughter and three-year-old twin boys. With tears in her eyes, Vanderwegen says the law gives her confidence.

LAURA VANDERWEGEN: I've been a little insecure all my life, just trying to be a little bit better than everybody else, just because I knew if they-- or I thought if they knew I was gay, they would think a little bit less of me. So if I outperformed in other areas, that I'd be OK. So now we're just equal.

CONRAD WILSON: But not everyone was celebrating last night. Up the hill from the concert, a group of about 150 men, women, and children gathered for a candlelit prayer vigil outside the St. Paul Cathedral. Rosie Rydberg was there with her mother to protest the same-sex marriage law.

ROSIE RYDBERG: It's a really sad day.

CONRAD WILSON: Rydberg is a Catholic who lives in St. Cloud. She happened to be in St. Paul and says she came to the cathedral to pray. The gathering of Rydberg and others was not organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul in Minneapolis.

ROSIE RYDBERG: It's about praying for our state and praying for the state of marriage. And you know, hopefully through this, people will see the importance of one man and one woman as being the true meaning of marriage.

CONRAD WILSON: When asked what she thought would happen next, Rydberg answered, some good may come out of the law. She says people may take a more thoughtful look at marriage. Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio News.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>