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Gay couples get hitched in Minnesota, Rhode Island

BY PATRICK CONDON, ASSOCIATED PRESS

MINNEAPOLIS -- Gay couples began tying the knot in Minnesota and Rhode Island on Thursday, pushing the growing roster of places where same-sex couples can wed to more than a quarter of U.S. states.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak began presiding over his state's first sanctioned gay marriages just after midnight Wednesday, as 42 same-sex couples who didn't want to wait any longer filed into City Hall to make it official.

"I didn't expect to cry quite that hard," said a beaming Cathy ten Broeke, who with Margaret Miles was the first gay couple to be wed at City Hall.

Those in attendance burst into applause as Rybak pronounced Miles and ten Broeke married. The couple stood nearby embracing their 5-year-old son, Louie.

"We do," all three said to more cheers as they promised to be a family.

Hours later in Rhode Island, local officials issued the state's first marriage licenses to same-sex couples, making marriage an option for gay couples everywhere in New England.

Federico Santi and John Gacher, who have been together for 41 years, got married right after the Newport City Clerk's office opened at 8:30 a.m. They were already joined in a civil union. Kathleen Silvia, Newport's city clerk, called Thursday "a day of smooching" in Rhode Island.

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