18 same-sex couples wed in Moorhead

Metz, DePaolis
While enroute to the Clay County Courthouse to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony with more than a dozen other couples, Justin Metz, left, and Richie DePaolis made time for several stops, including to a Fargo, N.D., neighborhood where they shared their first kiss. Metz and DePaolis currently live in West Fargo, N.D., but they plan to move to Moorhead where their new marriage will be recognized.
Ann Arbor Miller for MPR

Dozens of well-wishers with signs and noisemakers greeted couples leaving the Clay County Courthouse in Moorhead after a midnight ceremony. It became legal for same-sex couples to marry in Minnesota today.

Justin Metz and Richie DePaolis were among 19 couples who repeated vows in the crowded courtroom while more than 120 invited guests watched and cheered. One couple was heterosexual.

"It means that our live and our happiness is legally the same as everybody else's and we have all of the protections and all of the rights and all of privileges and get to celebrate that," said Metz. "I think it's just amazing that we're here at this moment in time."

The two men are moving from Fargo to Moorhead because their marriage will not be recognized in North Dakota. DePaolis said marriage is first about love, but it's also about getting the financial benefits and the rights that come with being legally married.

Jan Titus struggled with emotion during the ceremony as he exchanged vows with his partner.

"We had a church ceremony a year ago June and we thought this would just be kind of a matter of fact thing," he said. "We both cried."

District Court judges Lisa Borgen and Michelle Lawson presided over the eight minute ceremony. Each couple then posed for pictures with the judges, stopped for a piece of cake at a table set up in the courthouse and emerged into the cool early morning to raucous cheers.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the number of same-sex couples who were married in Moorhead. The current version is correct.

Photos: Moorhead same-sex weddings
Photos: Midnight same-sex weddings in Mpls.
Couples exchange marriage vows
Couples celebrate legal same-sex marriage in midnight ceremonies
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Photos & stories: Same-sex couples share their wedding plans
Today's Question: Are you personally affected?
All MPR News coverage of same-sex marriage
Straight or gay, don't rush to the altar
Details: The Minnesota same-sex marriage bill
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