Rhode Island and Minnesota became the 12th and 13th states to begin performing same-sex marriage ceremonies in the nation on Thursday.
A number of homosexuals in Minnesota lined up Wednesday night to be among the first to obtain licenses as ceremonies began when the clock struck midnight on Thursday. Minneapolis City Hall, the Mall of America’s Chapel of Love and various county courthouses were open across the state to accommodate the occasion. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback officiated ceremonies at City Hall.
“We wanted the ceremony to feel familiar and normal because it is,” he told reporters. “[It] was one grand step towards making what once was considered almost unachievable into something that people someday will shrug about.”
Governor Mark Dayton had signed a homosexual “marriage” bill into law in May, and dubbed Thursday as being “Freedom to Marry Day.”
In Rhode Island, government offices began hosting ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. Civil unions have been legal in the state since 2011, but in May, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill into law that legalized same-sex nuptials.
As previously reported, before putting his signature to the legislation, Chafee spoke to a crowd of homosexuals and other same-sex “marriage” advocates on the steps of the Rhode Island State House.
“Today we are making history,” he said. “We are living up to the ideals of our founder.”
However, the most vocal opponents to the passage of the bill were the state’s Catholic residents. Thomas Tobin sent out a letter to Catholic parishioners in the state, outlining that “homosexual acts are … always sinful.” He said that Catholics who support or attend same-sex ceremonies “might harm their relationship with God.”
Ceremonies in Minnesota and Rhode Island commenced as homosexual advocates in numerous other states across the nation filed lawsuits in an effort to overturn same-sex marriage bans on the books. In Kentucky, two men sued the state late last month, claiming that Kentucky’s marriage statute violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky,” states a constitutional amendment passed in 2004. “A marriage between members of the same sex which occurs in another jurisdiction shall be void in Kentucky.”
In Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit in an attempt to strike down Pennsylvania’s longstanding same-sex “marriage” ban. The lawsuit consists of over 20 plaintiffs, including four homosexual twosomes who were “married” in other states, but are not recognized as a couple in Pennsylvania. It also cites the recent Supreme Court ruling in its assertion that the law is injurious to homosexuals in the Commonwealth, some of whom raise children together.
“It is hereby declared to be the strong and longstanding public policy of this Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman,” Pennsylvania’s “Marriage Between Persons of the Same Sex” statute outlines. “A marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state or foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth.”
Similar lawsuits are expected in Virginia, Nevada, Hawaii, Michigan and North Carolina, and federal judge just last week put a halt on Ohio’s constitutional amendment after two homosexuals who traveled to Maryland for their ceremony sued the state for not recognizing their relationship.