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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Minneapolis Mayor Bids For Other States’ Gay Weddings

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak officiates the first gay wedding in Minnesota, between Jeff Isaacson (left) and Al Giraud (right), Aug. 1, 2013. (Stacy Bengs/AP)

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak officiates the first gay wedding in Minnesota, between Jeff Isaacson (left) and Al Giraud (right), Aug. 1, 2013. (Stacy Bengs/AP)

The mayor of Minneapolis is heading to Chicago in hopes he can convince gay and lesbian couples to think about getting married in his city. Same-sex marriage was recently legalized in Minnesota.

R.T. Rybak is scheduled to appear today in a predominantly gay neighborhood to personally invite couples frustrated by Illinois’ lack of a gay marriage law to get married in Minneapolis. He says that would pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy.

“I love Chicago — it’s my kind of town. But it is the second city for equal rights. And since people don’t have the rights they deserve, we’re saying hey, come on up to Minneapolis. We’re happy to marry you, bring your wedding party. And by the way, you’ll fly home or drive home with about 1,100 federal rights that you didn’t have before,” Rybak told Here & Now.

Rybak plans to bring the “Marry Me in Minneapolis” campaign to Colorado and Wisconsin as well.

“We’re starting with Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee and Denver, and then we’ll reassess,” Rybak said. “You know, Willie Sutton said, ‘Why do I rob banks? It’s where the money is.’ Why do we go to Chicago? It’s where the money is. And right now the people of Illinois are saying they don’t want the money, and we’re happy to take it in a state that believes people should have the rights they deserve.”

Several Chicago and Illinois officials reacted to Rybak’s effort by calling again for state lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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