Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Marriage equality begins at midnight in MInnesota and Rhode Island

Congratulations to the LGBT communities in Minnesota and Rhode Island as marriage equality becomes a reality at midnight tonight.

In Rhode Island, Lee Swislow, GLAD’s executive director made the following statement: “Congratulations to all of the loving, committed Rhode Island couples who can now marry and enjoy the dignity and security of having their marriage recognized at home and by the federal government. We are joyful and proud that each of the six New England states recognizes the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.”

GLAD was an active part of the coalition that worked for many years to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples in Rhode Island through legal work, public education, and providing strategic expertise.

Some people in Rhode Island can't see the writing on the wall, though, as one man tried to get a temporary restraining order in place to stop the upcoming nuptials:

Ronald L’Heureux, a cofounder of the Faith Alliance to Preserve the Sanctity of Marriage as Defined by God, brought a petition and complaint to the court on Tuesday morning and sought a temporary restraining order to stop the law from taking effect. Judge Daniel A. Procaccini denied the request, saying L’Heureux had fallen “far short” of the criteria needed to obtain a temporary restraining order, said court spokesman Craig Berke.

Instead, Procaccini scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 9.

L’Heureux’s complaint, which names Governor Chafee, state Department of Health Director Michael Fine and 75 state lawmakers who voted for same-sex marriage as defendants, argues that legalizing same-sex marriage will violate religious freedoms guaranteed by the state Constitution, forcing people to accept, in public spheres such as schools, a practice that they oppose based on their faith.
“It violates the Constitution and causes irreparable harm, and once it passes they’re going to teach my children and grandchildren conduct that’s reprehensible to my faith,” said L’Heureux, who represented himself in court.

With gay marriages becoming legal in Minnesota on Thursday, courthouses in major cities across the state will be open after midnight to accommodate dozens of same-sex couples eager to tie the knot.

"It's good for our business," says Ron Stein, a jeweler in Minneapolis, where the mayor plans to conduct weddings for approximately 40 couples. "We've had orders already."

NPR Minnesota reports that the city of Minneapolis is hosting an extravaganza at City Hall tonight where Mayor R.T. Rybak will officiate at the marriage of 42 same-sex couples. The celebration, which will stretch well into Thursday morning, includes performances by local musicians, a brass quintet and a reception at the nearby Hotel Minneapolis.

In recent days, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has published articles about the coming "boon" to the state's wedding industry, as well as the phenomenon of same-sex couples facing the same sort of pre-wedding "jitters" long known to straight couples.

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