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Continued: Minnesota gay and lesbian couples in wedding countdown

Crossing the N.D. border

For many gay and lesbian couples there, their historic walk down the aisle will not erase years of disapproval from parents and family members who still oppose same-sex marriage.

“I haven’t spoken with my mom in over a year now because she is definitely not on board with my sexual orientation,” said Katie Craig, 24, who lives in Grand Forks, N.D., and who will wed Thursday in Crookston. “My family likes to ignore the fact I am gay. In my family, it is not something they want to talk about.”

Craig and her partner, Mary Gonzalez, 23, will cross the border to marry even though North Dakota won’t recognize the union when they return. They met several years ago through a Star Wars fan website and have been together ever since.

“We want what everybody wants,” Gonzalez said. “They are in a loving, committed relationship and want that recognized. We have decided to go for it, no matter what.”

Minnesota’s momentum on same-sex marriage has already lured a few people into the state.

Mara Morken, a freelance Web designer and stay-at-home mother, and her partner moved from Fargo, N.D., across the border to Moorhead a year or so ago.

“North Dakota has no protections [of] any sort,” said Morken, who has two young children with her partner, whom she plans to marry in September. “Even though the taxes are higher, it made sense to move over. We wanted to take advantage of all the positive things that Minnesota is doing.”

‘Part of the community’

Amy Theis and Nichol DePoint have been together four years. They live in south Minneapolis, have a 1-year-old daughter and have parents who are excited about their Aug. 8 wedding.

“It’s still sinking in. We can get married,” said Theis, 34, an acupuncturist.

“It was something I never thought we would have, and now to have that security and ability to express that love is amazing,” said DePoint, 35, a restaurant manager. “We are now a part of the community and the community is a part of us and our lives.”

The ring’s the thing

Now something that has long marked straight unions is surfacing for some gay couples: wedding jitters.

Zuckman and Oxman found themselves bickering about ties last week. Zuckman wants matching ties for their wedding day, maybe even identical boutonnieres. Oxman wants complementary ones, bright, made of silk, perhaps purple and blue.

“I imagine two different ties, complementary, like our relationship,” Oxman said.

This will only happen once, they say, and they want everything just right.

Oxman wears his father’s wedding ring and had an identical one made for Zuckman as a 25th anniversary gift. Each man wears his band on his right ring finger.

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  • "Everything just right": Harvey Zuckman and Phil Oxman tried to pick out ties last week.

  • Sweet victory: Amy Theis, right, her partner, Nichol DePoint, and their 1-year-old daughter, Hattie, shopped for cupcakes at the Salty Tart Bakery for their Aug. 8 wedding. “It’s still sinking in. We can get married,” Theis said.

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    See a full digital timeline at

    1970: Minneapolis couple Jack Baker and Michael Mc- Connell apply for a marriage license, are rejected by Hennepin County District Court and go on to file what is believed to be the first U.S. lawsuit on same-sex marriage.

    1971: Minnesota Supreme Court rules against Baker, declaring in its opinion that “[t]he institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation or rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.”

    1996: Congress adopts the Defense of Marriage Act, prohibiting federal benefits to same-sex couples.

    1997: Minnesota adopts a state Defense of Marriage Act, explicitly barring “a marriage between persons of the same sex.”

    1998: Alaska becomes the first state to put a gay-marriage ban in its Constitution. Two dozen states will follow suit in coming years.

    2003: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that bans on same-sex marriage violate the state’s Constitution.

    2011: The Minnesota Legislature puts a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot that would define marriage as only the union of a man and woman.

    November 2012: Minnesota voters defeat the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

    May 9, 2013: On a 75-59 vote, a DFL-controlled Minnesota House votes to repeal the state DOMA law and legalize same-sex marriage. Two days later, the DFL-led Senate votes 37-30 to do the same.

    May 14: DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, in an outdoor ceremony, signs the measure making Minnesota the 13th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

    June 26: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down key parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, similar to the one Minnesota voters rejected.

    Aug. 1: Gay and lesbian couples can legally wed in Minnesota.

    Sources: Star Tribune archives; National Conference of State Legislatures; Washington Post; Associated Press; Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life; Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

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