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ROCHESTER, MN — It has been nearly a month since state leaders in Minnesota passed a bill declaring same-sex marriage legal but there is still work that needs to be done before those marriages become legal August 1.
Last week three Minnesota counties started accepting marriage applications for same-sex couples looking to make their union legal and it was not until Tuesday that some in our area started allowing the same process.
“I’m really proud of the county to be so progressive and getting this done,” said Vangie Castro with the Gay/Lesbian Community Services of Southeast Minnesota.
Castro has seen a lot of acceptance happening through her role with the gay and lesbian community and with same-sex marriage a reality, she is excited to see Olmsted County leaders getting the ball rolling.
“I thought maybe it would be some time in July but this is actually a really great time for them to do it and I think they were probably pushed by the other three larger counties that had initiated it last week,” Castro said.
Mark Krupski is the Director of Property Records and Licensing for Olmsted County. He is excited about what lies ahead. He thinks it is a great way to show support for the community.
“We’ve been waiting, the LGBT community has been waiting to get married for a really long time. I think it’s great that they didn’t hesitate and they didn’t wait until July. They wanted to support the community and let us know that they were supportive of us,” Castro said.
It is also a way to make sure that if there is a back-log, it will be over by August 1; something those on the county board think is a good idea.
“The more time people have to prepare if they want to have an early marriage ceremony would be good,” said Olmsted County Board member Louis Ohly.
Especially since they say they really do not know what to expect.
“I have talked to people that are interested in doing that so I know anecdotally that there’ll be several people that will do that. Will there be a huge amount?” Ohly said.
Since this day came sooner than expected, those like Castro will be spreading the word.
“We need to just get it out there and let people know that they can start getting applications today,” Castro said.
After one day of taking applications those with Olmsted County said none have been completed.
Freeborn County leaders have said they will begin taking applications on July 29 and Mower County said they will probably start taking them August 1, but they say that could change.
In Olmsted County a marriage license costs $115; $40 if a couple completes 12 hours of premarital counseling.
You can fill out an application at olmstedcounty.com. There will be an “Apply For” drop down and under “Licenses” click on “Marriage.”