Duluth businessman plans gay wedding party on first nightJohn Goldfine is throwing a free wedding party in the wee hours of Aug. 1, and he wants it to be a big bash.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
John Goldfine is throwing a free wedding party in the wee hours of Aug. 1, and he wants it to be a big bash.
Goldfine, a Duluth businessman and passionate supporter of gay rights, wants the event to be a celebration of Minnesota’s new law allowing same-sex couples to marry at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of August. He says he’ll be glad to marry straight couples, too, and anyone who wants to celebrate the occasion is invited to attend.
“We thought of three types of people for this,” Goldfine said. “Those who want to be the first to get married in Minnesota, and we will be doing this at 12:01. Those who can’t afford a wedding party. And then those whose family members may not be supportive. … We’re saying to them, we’ll be your family.”
In May, Minnesota lawmakers passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage, immediately signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton. Aug. 1 is the day the law takes effect.
And for the record, Goldfine has been marrying couples for years. He started as a ship’s “captain” when he ran a riverboat in Chattanooga, Tenn., years ago. But for those weddings to be legal on dry land, Goldfine needed to be ordained. So he obtained his certificate from the Universal Life Church of San Bernardino, Calif., after seeing an ad in the back of the Mother Earth Catalog.
"It’s all legal," Goldfine said.
So far, three same-sex couples have signed on to be married at the Duluth party. But the more the merrier, Goldfine says.
You can’t just show up at the door, however: Couples must have a valid wedding license that can be acquired through the St. Louis County recorder’s office no later than July 26. That’s also the first day same-sex couples can obtain their license in St. Louis County, said Mark Monacelli, county records director. (Minnesota marriage licenses cost $115. For any couple that completes 12 hours of premarital counseling, the fee is $40.)
The event is set for Tycoons, the downtown Duluth tavern and eatery, and will start at 10 p.m. in the upstairs hall. A donated wedding cake has been lined up, Goldfine noted, as more people find out and want to contribute.
Goldfine is planning a group ceremony at 12:01 a.m. Then he (and other ministers, if needed) will start individually marrying couples after that, for as long into the night as it takes.
It’s all free, and volunteers are sought to help set up and organize the event, such as photographers who might make their services available.
As of Aug. 1, 13 states plus the District of Columbia will allow same-sex marriage.