New City Hall Plaque to Commemorate First Legal Weddings for Same-Sex Couples in Minnesota
 
Mayor Hodges to host unveiling ceremony Thursday, will be joined by couples married at City Hall on August 1, 2013
 
February 4, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Tomorrow evening, Mayor Betsy Hodges will unveil a new plaque in Minneapolis City Hall that commemorates the state’s first legal same-sex weddings that were performed on August 1, 2013 at City Hall. Sixty-seven couples said ‘I do’ that night, after Minnesota became the 12th state in the nation to legally recognize the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The plaque is located in the Rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall, where the first weddings took place.
 
On May 14, 2013, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed into law the bill which made the legal marriages possible. The chief authors of the bill were Minneapolis legislators Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark.
 
“I am still moved when I stand in the Rotunda and reflect on the historic weddings that took place in Minneapolis City Hall on the night of August 1, 2013,” said Mayor Hodges. “I was proud that this beautiful space served as the wedding site for so many couples who had waited years, even decades, for legal recognition. This plaque will serve forever as a reminder not only of that night, but of the victories in 2012 and 2013 that won the freedom to marry for all Minnesotans, and of the hard work and sacrifices of countless people over many years that made those victories possible.”
 
Project 515, one of the parent organizations that founded Minnesotans United for All Families and helped win marriage for all couples regardless of gender, generously donated the plaque. The organization closed its doors in 2014 after declaring ‘mission accomplished.’
 
“In 2006 a small group gathered with an auspicious goal: to secure equal rights and considerations for same-sex couples and their families under Minnesota law,” said John Larsen, founding board member and final Board Chair for Project 515. “With the overwhelming support of thousands of Minnesotans, we achieved that mission on August 1, 2013. As one of our final acts before closing our doors, Project 515 was delighted to donate this plaque celebrating the right to marry for ALL loving couples in Minneapolis and throughout our great state.” 
 
In late 2013, Project 515 first brought the idea of a commemorative plaque in Minneapolis City Hall to then-mayor R.T. Rybak, who performed the first weddings on the night of August 1, 2013 in City Hall. For the past year, Mayor Hodges’ office has worked with Project 515 to secure the plaque’s placement in the Rotunda. The project required approval from the Municipal Building Commission (MBC), a joint City and County body which oversees the care and control of the Minneapolis City Hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mayor Hodges is the vice president of the MBC Board.
 
“So many people deserve our thanks for making the freedom to marry, and the plaque that commemorates the state’s first legal same-sex weddings here in City Hall, possible,” continued Mayor Hodges. “First, Governor Mark Dayton, the majorities of the Legislature that passed the bill authored by Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Karen Clark, and the people of Minnesota for having the compassion, foresight and courage to defeat the 2012 marriage amendment. I’m very grateful to the generosity of Project 515 and their donors for commemorating that historic night with this plaque. Thanks go to former Mayor R.T. Rybak and his staff for coordinating and performing the night of weddings, as well as to the many businesses and individuals that donated their time and services to it. I also appreciate the approval of the Municipal Building Commission to place the plaque in the Rotunda, and thank Council President Barbara Johnson for her help in securing it. Above all, I want to thank the 67 couples who took the leap into marriage that night and allowed the rest of us to share their joy as we Minnesotans made history together.”
 
Mayor Hodges will officially unveil the new plaque Thursday evening, at a ceremony in the Rotunda of City Hall. She will be joined by Lt. Governor Tina Smith, Senator Scott Dibble, Representative Karen Clark, Secretary of State Steve Simon, representatives from Project 515, R.T. Rybak, and the couples who were married that night in City Hall. The Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, who performed at the first weddings, will perform at Thursday’s ceremony, and Betty Crocker and Betty’s Family (networks of General Mills), who provided the wedding cake on August 1, 2013, will provide cupcakes.
 
Media Note: Public Unveiling Ceremony
 
WHAT:
Unveiling of new marriage plaque
 
WHEN:
Thursday, February 5 | 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Program and unveiling at 6:00 p.m.
 
WHERE:
Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda
 
WHO:
Mayor Betsy Hodges
Lt. Governor Tina Smith
State Senator Scott Dibble
Representative Karen Clark
Secretary of State Steve Simon
R.T. Rybak – former Mayor of Minneapolis
Ann Kaner-Roth – former Executive Director of Project 515
Cathy ten Broeke and Margaret Miles; Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson – first two couples married
Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus
 
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Published Feb 4, 2015

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