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Gay marriage is not a new thing. The first one took place in 1971

Gay marriage is not a new thing. The first one took place in 1971

With all the hoopla, hurrah’s, and foaming at the mouth about the recent Supreme Court victories it’s time to recognize the fact that two guys managed to get a legal marriage well over 40 years ago.

The prevailing image of homosexuality in the early 1970s was a caricature – flamboyant men in gay bars, and a lifestyle of wild promiscuity.

Going public about your sexual orientation could cost you your home, your job and your family.

Baker and McConnell didn’t fit the stereotype. Both in their late 20s – clean cut and with short, neat hair – Baker was a law student and McConnell a librarian. They’d been together for four years when they first applied for a marriage licence in 1970.

This was rejected – on the grounds that they were both men. But the couple decided to fight. They appealed, and kept on appealing until the case reached the US Supreme Court. It was the first time the court had been asked to rule on gay marriage – but it refused to hear the case “for want of a substantial federal question”.

Undeterred, the couple tried again. This time they tried a different tack – Baker changed his name to the gender-neutral “Pat Lyn”.

A very simple manoeuvre, but it did the trick. The licence was issued and they began to plan a wedding. They asked a Methodist minister to perform the ceremony and went through weeks of pre-marital counselling like any heterosexual couple preparing for a Methodist wedding.

But with 24 hours to go, the minister changed his mind.

They needed another minister to step forward, says Pastor Roger Lynn, who worked alongside the couple at a drop-in centre offering support and counselling to gay people in Minneapolis.

There’s far more at the link. ┬áIt’s time to recognize the people that came well before us.

(thumb via the linked article)

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