December 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Gay Minn. couple loses appeal based on 1971 marriage license
gender transition, gay news, Washington Blade

Minnesota State Capitol (Photo by Jonathunder; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A gay couple has lost another legal fight over getting the state to recognize their marriage in the early 1970s, KIMT 3 News, a regional station, reported on Dec. 26.

James Michael McConnell and Pay Lyn McConnell, also known at Richard John Baker, first applied for a marriage license in Hennepin County in May 1970. It was denied because they were both men, a decision supported at the time by the Minnesota Supreme Court, KIMT reports.

As their appeal was pending in 1971, however, James McConnell submitted a second marriage license request to Blue Earth County that listed Pat McConnell as a female living in the county. That marriage license was issued on August 16 but before the month was over, the Blue Earth County Attorney’s Office had determined the license was invalid under state law and it was not recorded in county records, KIMT reports.

In September 2014, James McConnell mailed a letter to the Blue Earth County clerk and asked for a certified copy of the marriage certificate. The County Attorney’s Office informed McConnell that would not be possible, KIMT reports.

A petition was filed in November 2016 requesting the district court order Blue Earth County to officially record the 1971 marriage license. The court refused and an appeal was filed, KIMT reports.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has now upheld that refusal, pointing to the incorrect statements made on the marriage license application. The Court also found that the McConnell’s have not proven they have suffered a “particular harm” from not having their 1971 marriage recorded, KIMT reports.

3 Comments
  • They should therefore sue the state for the lost tax benefits, lack of being able to apply for the same insurance, and not being able to adopt children together if they had wanted to (depending on the adoption laws there). They should also demand that the state pay them, with an interest rate mirroring what they would normally make off of a mutual fund, for any attorney fees they might have had to pay in order to give themselves the same legal security and inheritance rights as any married couple (since such foresight is arguably a similar level of foresight that would determine someone making a sound financial investment, the money they had to spend on it should be treated as such). No “particular harm,” the dummies say, what utter, total, insulting rubbish.

    Obergefell v. Hodges determined that Minnesota NEVER had a right to deny these men a marriage license.

    • If they had dug in their heels on the original marriage licence I would agree. However the second licence (the one they’re still fighting for), they attempted to have recorded was fraudulent. If you commit fraud on an official court document, you lose.

  • They could have gotten gay-married since 2013 as a result of legislative action, but that doesn’t seem to be good enough for them. No, they want their gay marriage to have legal standing from 1971, even though false information was submitted on the license that the fiance was female.

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