Mayor Invites Gay Couples to Come Tie the Knot

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The mayor of Minneapolis hopes to make his city a destination spot for gay couples in the Midwest. He's even unveiled a new ad campaign with the message, "Come to Minnesota to get married."

Minnesota began recognizing gay marriage on Aug, 1. Mayor R.T. Rybak said his state's new status presents an opportunity, especially since gay marriage isn't recognized in nearby states like Wisconsin.

"This is an amazing state, but Wisconsin right now does not have one thing that we have in Minnesota and that is equal rights," Rybak said.

Rybak said he hopes the new ad campaign will promote his city to same-sex couples. So far, he's traveled to Madison, Wis., and Chicago. He also plans to visit Colorado.

The campaign is facing some push-back since same-sex marriage is illegal in Wisconsin. Couples who leave to get married and then come back could face penalties.

If a gay couple tries to file their state taxes jointly in Wisconsin they could face a $10,000 fine and nine months in jail.

Gay marriage supporters don't think that is fair.

"I think it really highlights how our government's hands are tied by the constitutional ban that we have," Katie Belanger, executive director for Fair Wisconsin, said.

"They're really limited in terms of the scope of the decisions that they can do to recognize same-sex couples," she added.

The conservative group Wisconsin Family Action campaigned in 2006 to amend to the state's constitution to recognize marriage as only between one man and one woman.

"The mayor of Minneapolis can come here and do whatever he chooses just as we have ambassadors going to other states to try and woo business," WFA President Julaine Appling said in response to Rybak's campaign.

"Our law would not recognize any validity to those (same sex) marriages performed in any other state," she said.

Meanwhile in Hawaii, a special legislative session has been set to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage.

The measure seeks to grant same-sex couples the same rights and benefits as traditionally married couples. It includes religious exemptions and other provisions to protect first amendment rights.

The special session begins Oct. 28. Hawaii already allows same-sex civil unions. If the bill passes, it would become the 14th state to legalize gay marriage.

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