- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota’s law legalizing gay marriage is nearing its two-year anniversary, but backers still found reasons to celebrate Friday after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing it in every state.

The decision has bearing on gay and lesbian couples who wed after Minnesota’s law took effect on Aug. 1, 2013, because their marriages will be recognized when traveling in or moving to other states where those legal unions had been barred. That matters in cases of spousal involvement in medical decisions, income tax filing and automatic inheritances.

The watershed moment was especially uplifting to Richard Carlbom. He led efforts to defeat a Minnesota gay marriage ban in 2012 and then to legalize less than a year later. He went on to be director of state campaigns for the national Freedom to Marry group that was active in coast-to-coast legalization bids, but acknowledges the ruling puts him out of a job.

“I have three months to wind down my work. The organization will probably close our doors in six to 12 months,” Carlbom said. “Isn’t it wonderful when a nonprofit organization has to go out of business?”

Carlbom married in 2013 but has had to deal with uncertainty since his husband began graduate school in Ohio, where they often wind up and where their marriage wasn’t recognized.

“If something happens to me he’s not my spouse in the eyes of Ohio,” he said. “I’m a 33-year-old married man whose parents would have to be called in to help make medical decisions. The court recognized that today.”

State political leaders who support gay marriage heralded the ruling.

“It’s about love, it’s about rights and it’s about time. Nice work, SCOTUS,” said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, using the Supreme Court’s acronym.

The Minnesota Family Council, which led the state charge against gay marriage, declared the fight “far from over.” The group said the ruling adds urgency to drives in Congress and the state Legislature to extend freedom of conscience laws that prevent punishment against businesses refusing services for gay weddings.

“The court placed government’s stamp of approval on a romanticized version of ‘marriage,’ which is incomplete at best and intentionally deprives children of either a mother or a father,” said the group’s chief executive, John Helmberger.

In one respect, Minnesota was home to the nation’s first big legal challenge over gay marriage. A Minneapolis gay couple, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, sued after being denied a marriage license in 1970, leading to a lawsuit that eventually landed before the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices dismissed the appeal on grounds the plaintiffs lacked a federal issue to resolve.

In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion Friday, he cited the case by name, saying it “must be and now is overruled.”

Neither Baker nor McConnell offered any reaction Friday. McConnell didn’t return emails and Baker waved off an Associated Press reporter at the couple’s Minneapolis home.

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