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Literature in a Hurry: Celebrating marriages for all local residents

MORRIS -- As a relatively young person, spring and summer are filled with friends talking about weddings and babies. Although I personally don't have any weddings to attend this year, I've already seen photos show up on Facebook from acquaintances and far-away friends celebrating their nuptials. Their joy is infectious and exciting.

Thanks to Governor Mark Dayton and lawmakers in St. Paul, even more Minnesota couples will have the chance to legally marry and share this excitement starting on August 1 when a new law allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil marriage goes into affect.

There are many implications to this historic change in public policy, including one here in the pages of the Morris Sun Tribune.

Starting immediately, this newspaper will be publishing engagement and wedding announcements for same-sex couples in our community following the same guidelines we use for all other celebrations.

While opinions on the validity of same-sex marriage may still be divided, the legal side of this issue was set the minute Governor Mark Dayton signed House File 1054 into law, making Minnesota's marriage law gender neutral.

Now that this change to Minnesota's marriage law is official, our policies need to shift to reflect this change. But the legal side of this decision is, to me, not even the most important or most relevant reason to discuss this change.

As a community newspaper, it's our job to reflect our community. Over the last year as debate swirled around same-sex marriage, we've reflected the divided feelings of this community on this issue on our opinion page and in letters to the editor. To fully reflect our community, we need to formally and publicly open our news pages to the legal celebrations that all members of the community will be having.

As a community newspaper, we record history. This change in the law is an exciting, historic moment. It will have impacts in our community, primarily for the same-sex couples who can now legally marry. As a community record keeper, we have to recognize and celebrate this change too.

Some readers may disagree with this decision, but in my mind it's not a radical shift in our thinking or our policies. Same-sex marriages are now legally recognized in our state and will be happening in our community. It's our job to share that information and allow every person in our community the chance to celebrate and share that news in the pages of their community newspaper.