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Cities prepare for Aug. 1 wedding rush following gay marriage legalization

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Minneapolis and St. Paul are already making plans to accomodate thousands of gay couples that plan to be married on Aug. 1, the first day it's legal to do so in Minnesota.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law Tuesday followed by a celebration in downtown St. Paul.

Minneapolis city officials announced city hall will be open at 12:01 a.m. to host weddings on Aug. 1. Mayor R.T. Rybak tells FOX 9 that he plans to meet with couples tying the knot on the historic day and has even offered to officiate.

In celebration of the legislation, Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis is offering a free wedding on Aug. 1 for one lucky same-sex couple. Two of the restaurant owners are non-denominational ordained ministers and have offered to officiate a ceremony on the Hell's Kitchen stage. They will also pick up the tab for champagne, dinner and cake for up to 100 guests.

In St. Paul, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is gearing up for hundreds of brief weddings. The Pioneer Press reports the three venues within Como Park will lease out blocks of time, an hour or less, for ceremonies beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1.

Details on the city's public wedding venues are still being worked out, but sources close to Mayor Chris Coleman's office tell the newspaper that an online reservation system may be available.

Some rural areas of Minnesota aren't anticipating a flood of Aug. 1 weddings but expect to see a change in how marriage licenses are issued. Administrators in Polk and Rock counties say couples are currently required to take an oath that affirms a marriage between one man and one woman.

“I see that line going away,” Michelle Cote, director of property records at the Polk County Government Center in Crookston, tells the Grand Forks Herald. “Otherwise, it will be business as usual.”

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