First Couple Completes Marriage License Application in Olmsted County

Posted at: 06/12/2013 7:13 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Wednesday was a historic day in Olmsted County, as the first same-sex marriage license application was completed.

There were about a dozen people at the Olmsted County Government Center. They were all there, cameras in hand, to watch Bob Werner and Joe Nix apply for their marriage license.

Surrounded by friends and family, Bob Werner and Joe Nix became the first gay couple in Olmsted County to apply for a marriage license.

"Getting married has been our goal and we're delighted to be the first couple," said Werner.

It's been a long-time-coming for the couple, who have been together for twenty years.

"Everyone that I've talked to said once you get married, your relationship is different and although we have an excellent relationship now, we look forward to it being even better," said Werner.

"It's like watching someone get married. Even though they aren't actually getting married today, Bob and Joe are very dear friends of mine, and it's very special to watch them get their license," said Representative Tina Liebling.

While Bob and Joe are the first to finish the application process, they aren't the first same sex couple to come in to the Government Center, since the county opened up applications for gay couples Tuesday.

"We had two ladies in to file for their marriage license application, same sex, but they had already been married in Iowa,  and once they came up to my counter, they thought they had to re-file, or reregister in Minnesota to be recognized," said Christine Badger, a clerk in the marriage license office.

But that's not the case. Beginning on August 1st, if a couple has already been married in one of the other 11 states that allow same-sex marriage, that marriage will be recognized in the state of Minnesota. And with their application finished, Bob and Joe are now looking forward to planning their wedding."

"We have a number of people who are going to be in the wedding party. We have a reception hall picked out. We've been addressing envelopes every night. Gathering names and addresses just like everybody does for a wedding," said Werner.

More than a year ago, Bob and Joe applied for their marriage license, knowing they would get turned down. But the clerk that turned them away, was the same one who accepted their application Wednesday.