Archived Story

Local couple is ready for wedding

Published 10:14am Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Five years ago, Riverland Community College instructor Kirsten Lindbloom and her partner, Ginny Larsen, declared their love for each other surrounded by friends and family.

Though the ceremony was like a marriage in their own eyes, Lindbloom said it was not considered a legal union in the state.

In August, however, that will change.

Lindbloom said it is then that she and Larsen plan to legally marry in an anniversary party of sorts where they will also exchange vows.

“This is the piece that was missing,” she said.

The sociology instructor, who lives in Austin but teaches in Albert Lea, said she has been through an emotional and exciting week as she has seen the House, Senate and now Gov. Mark Dayton pass a bill allowing gay marriage in the state.

She said she was at the Capitol on Monday during the Senate vote.

“It’s a good day for Minnesota,” she said. “I know it’s a hard decision to make, but I believe it was a right decision to make. It came faster than we thought, and we’re really grateful we’re able to see this happen.”

The passage of the law came just six months after voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage.

“I think it’s time in our country,” said Southwest Middle School Principal Jean Jordan. “I think people from all walks of life have realized this is an issue of civil rights.”

She said the passage of the law makes a statement about the state, and she thinks the rest of the nation will follow suit.

“I think our kids will look back on this and wonder why this was an issue,” Jordan said.

Albert Lea High School senior Kessa Albright agreed.

“I’m really excited for everybody to have opportunities in Minnesota,” said Albright, who started a gay-straight alliance club with a friend last year at the high school.

“I’ve just always been really supportive of the cause,” she said. “It’s always something I’ve been passionate about.”

She said she voted for the first time in November and was in shock — but pleased — to hear the bill passed this week.

Though thousands joined Dayton at the Capitol to show support as he signed the bill into law, there are still many people who were not in favor of it.

One of those is former Freeborn County Republican Party Chairman Al Arends.

“I think marriage is a very important part of family life,” he said. “To me, it seems like all the time we’re making the tradition of a father and a mother a weaker type of relationship.”

He said he is not against civil unions and the idea of two people of the same sex having a loving relationship. However, he is against changing the definition of marriage.

“I think we’re making marriage weaker and weaker, and it’s harmful for our children,” Arends said.

The law makes gay marriage legal starting Aug. 1.