First US gay marriage recognised after 48 years

Image: TimesLIVE

America’s first gay marriage has officially been fully recognised after a five-decade legal battle.

Michael McConnell and Jack Baker obtained a marriage licence in 1971, thanks to a legal loophole in their state of Minnesota and a bit of trickery.

They are the first known gay couple to legally wed in the country, possibly the world.

But decades ago officials refused to record their marriage when they found out the two were of the same sex.

It took a court battle that ended only in 2018 for their marriage to be recognised.

NBC News reported on Thursday that the couple, both now 77, received the last piece of the recognition for which they have fought only three weeks ago – the right to federal retirement benefits as a married couple of 48 years.

The McConnells – they share Michael’s last name – exploited the fact that their Midwestern state did not explicitly forbid a marriage between a same-sex couple in the 1970s.

Baker changed his name to the gender-ambiguous “Pat Lyn”. McConnell did not mention to a clerk that his spouseto-be was a man.

They obtained a legal marriage licence and were wed in a religious ceremony.