Michael and Jack McConnell are a couple that will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on September 3rd this year, which will be a landmark for the entire LGBTQ community, as it marks the first gay marriage in the country.
Michael and Jack were legally married 32 years before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, and 43 years before gay marriage became federally legal in 2015.
But how did this couple manage to do it? Well, by being smart! Yes, they managed to outsmart the system back in 1970, when they applied for a marriage license at the Hennepin County courthouse in Minnesota, and were turned down. However, they tried again by using a legal loophole that Jack discovered. Namely, he was so determined to get married to his partner that he attended law school so he could find out how they can do it legally.
By reading the Minnesota law, he found that there was nothing in there that said they couldn’t get married. So, he legally changed his name to the gender-neutral Pat Lyn Baker, and his partner went alone to the Blue Earth County, Minnesota court to apply for a license while their first license was under review by the courts in Minnesota.
The court clerk approved the license application, and the couple was married in a ceremony presided over by Methodist Pastor Roger Lynn on September 3, 1971.
Like most weddings, their wedding also had a cake, but their cake two grooms instead of a groom and a bride.
Unfortunately, the clerk at the Blue Earth County refused to record the license when it was discovered that Pat Lynn Baker was a male, and their first case made it to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1972, where it was dismissed without a hearing.
As there wasn’t any proof of legal marriage, the couple didn’t receive any spousal benefits even after gay marriage was legalized in 2015. However, the couple’s 1971 marriage was deemed legal last year, which proves that the first gay marriage ever recorded in the public rights of any civil government anywhere in the world took place in Minnesota.