‘That’s what lawyers do: make the law work for them.’

The NYT profiles Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, who became the first same-sex couple known to apply for a marriage license. Following the journalism adage of going through the window when the door is locked, the couple took advantage of a loophole: McConnell adopted Baker, then McConnell wrested a marriage certificate from an oblivious clerk:

When Mr. Baker was elected in 1971 as the openly gay student-body president of the University of Minnesota, Walter Cronkite reported it on the nightly news. The couple appeared together on the influential Phil Donahue and David Susskind shows.

But by 1980, frustrated as the marriage issue failed to take off and under attack by gay leaders who called them “crazies” for refusing to make political compromises, they dropped out of public life. Since then, they have been leading quiet lives, still renovating the Arts and Crafts house they bought as a wreck in 1979.

Mr. McConnell, who retired as a senior official after a 37-year career with the Hennepin County library system, cooks in his dream kitchen and grows herbs. Mr. Baker, after years of private legal work and a job editing technical manuals, and after weathering medical challenges, tinkers in the yard and plants lilies along their street in south Minneapolis.

The rest of their lives consisted of the business of living, quietly and without (it looks like) incident.

What I wrote earlier this week about the panic about the putative collapse of gay culture.

2 thoughts on “‘That’s what lawyers do: make the law work for them.’

  1. Nice post! I agree that it was really hard for such people to deal with law those times. nowadays it is easier but you have to collect a huge amount of docs to protect yourself. But is is much more easier if you do it with a professional lawyers.

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