Local same-sex couple cross border to be legally married in Minnesota

It was the first official day of legal same-sex marriages in Minnesota on Thursday.

Starting just after midnight Thursday morning, couples gathered in courthouses across the state to be married.

Back in May, lawmakers passed the bill to allow same-sex couples to marry.

It came months after voters shot down an amendment to change the state’s constitution to say marriages are between a man and a woman.

But in Wisconsin, marriage is still only recognized between a man and a woman.

Which is why some couples from Wisconsin are taking part in the historic day by hopping the border and getting married in Minnesota.

Beth Cherne and Cindy Killion from Fountain City, Wis., have been together for 17 years.


While they thought they would have to wait at least 10 more years to get legally married, the wait is now over.

In a courthouse surrounded by nothing more than rolling bluffs and fields of corn, history is being made.

“I’m nervous,” said Killion.

“I’m nervous too,” said Cherne.   

Waiting in nervous anticipation at the Wabasha County Courthouse in Minnesota, Cherne and Killion are more than ready to make things official.

“We’re talking about, ‘why are we nervous?’ We’ve been together for 17 years, but there’s actually something really special about this,” said Cherne.

The two had a commitment ceremony 15 years ago and when it became legal in Minnesota, there was no doubt in their minds they would take part in the historic first day of legal same-sex marriages.

“We wanted to get married on the first day,” said Killion. 

“We both did,” said Cherne. 

“I’ve been working on this kind of issue for the last 20 years of my life and it’s happened and I want to take advantage of it,” said Killion.

“Very happy. Very, very, happy,” said Cherne.

After waiting for the court administrator, the wedding ceremony began.

“Welcome everybody thank you for being here to share this special day with Beth and Cindy,” said court administrator Sally Cumiskey. “It is our hope that your marriage will give you strength and commitment to face all of life’s adversities. Now it’s time to exchange your vows. Want to face each other and join your hands.”

“I Beth take you Cindy to be my wedded partner,” said Cherne.

“From this day forward, for better for worse, ” said Cherne.

“I will love you, cherish you and respect you all the days of my life,” said Killion.

“By the power and authority vested in me by the state of Minnesota, I declare you are married. Please share your joy and happiness with each other now and forever,” said Cumiskey.

And just like that, in only about 10 minutes, their decade and a half of waiting came to a happy end.

“It was very solemn, very emotional and very happy all at the same time,” said Cherne.

Cherne and Killion are planning on moving to La Crescent as soon as possible.

Cherne works in Wisconsin so they said there’s plenty of legal issues they need to sort through still, because Wisconsin does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman in 2006.