'The Wedding Heard 'Round the World': First Same-Sex Couple to Marry Visit Rochester

The first same-sex couple to be married in the United States came to the Rochester Public Library Saturday to tell their story.

Michael McConnell and Jack Baker met in 1966, and started to date. But McConnell didn't want just any relationship. He wanted to be legally married to his partner.

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"Jack decided since I said the only way I would commit was to be legally married, so he said, 'Looks like I'm going to law school,'" laughed McConnell.

Baker attended the University of Minnesota Law School in 1970, and discovered Minnesota's marriage statute didn't mention gender at all.

The couple applied for a marriage license in Hennepin County. However, the clerk refused to issue one. So, Baker and McConnell moved to Blue Earth County, applied for a license there, and were legally married September 3, 1971.

For more than 40 years after, the couple became political activists, excited to eventually see same-sex marriage legalized nationally in 2015.

But they were always bothered by one thing: people thinking the battle for marriage equality started in big cities on the coasts, not in America's heartland.

"The truth is that Minnesota, in the 1970s and for some years forward, was a hotbed for political activism and gay ideas, including marriage equality and many other things," explained McConnell.

McConnell and Baker decided to write a book, 'The Wedding Heard 'Round the World,' to set the record straight.

The book includes pictures and other writings, documenting their more than 40 years as a legally married couple.

There's also a traveling exhibit on their story at the Rochester Public Library through Sunday.

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  • Yeah, that’s quite a good news that same sex weddings are getting legalized. I feel this is the reason behind emergence of so many Gay Apps recently. I was reading it other day that there has been explosion of these apps in market stores in last few years.
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