St. Paul dresses in gay pride colors

St. Paul city workers place gay pride flags along the Wabasha Street bridge on Monday morning, May 13, 2013. (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)

Tim Nelson reports this morning that St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman is issuing a proclamation temporarily renaming the city’s landmark Wabasha Street Freedom Bridge the “Wabasha Street Freedom to Marry Bridge.” The executive order comes as the state Senate is preparing to vote to make same sex marriage legal in the state, just days after the House voted to do so.

St. Paul city worker Mike Dries attaches a gay pride flag to a pole on the Wabasha Street bridge. (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)

The bridge was initially named by mayor Randy Kelly to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2002.

The city is marking the occasion of today’s vote by placing rainbow flags atop dozens of standards up and down the bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. Public Works workers Dan Smolik and Mark Dries started putting up the flags shortly after 6 a.m.

City spokesman Joe Campbell says the St. Paul proclamation will also designate May 13 through 17 as “Freedom to Marry” week in the city, and that more events may be announced if the Senate passes the measure, as expected, in a vote later today. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign the bill if it passes and make Minnesota the 12th state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage.

Some links to our coverage on the Senate vote today:

  • Saint Paul

    YES YES YES!!! I am so proud of Saint Paul and Mayor Coleman!!!

  • Sarah D.

    Beautiful.

  • Tanya P

    This is beautiful. Simply beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes. I love Minnesota.

  • Charlie

    I love the flags and am glad the Mayor is showing his support, but “Wabasha Street Freedom to Marry Bridge” strikes me as a little silly :)

    • Ben

      The fact that we’re even needing to fight this battle is a little silly :) (I agree though. Just … really?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.pierce.54 Robin Pierce

    I LOVE ST. PAUL MINNESOTA. My adopted hometown.

  • Leiha

    wow! this is amazing, never would I think that this could be so real so close to home! It’s finally Minnesota’s time to shine! :)

  • Northfield

    glad to know a historical land mark can be colored by an activist movement.

    • TJ

      Try a civil rights movement.

  • Mark

    Why is taxpayers money being used to support an agenda that not everyone agrees on? If they had put support for gun owner flags up you would see the liberals gun haters in a melt down. This is a waste and wrong. Just saying.

    • TJ

      How about all the taxpayer dollars still being spent by legislators to promote DOMA? Or DADT a few years ago? Or the constitutional amendment a few months ago? Taxpayer money is being spent on both sides of this issue.

      It doesn’t matter that people don’t all “agree” with this issue, the fact is that what this mayor is doing is the /right/ thing to do. This is legislation that WILL benefit the lives of literally millions of people that are currently being discriminated against. Nobody that doesn’t “agree” with it will be affected at all. If you have a problem with a mayor that supports civil rights for ALL people, then you can move to a different country- one that supports the oppression and discrimination of minorities.

      Also, gun ownership isn’t a civil rights issue…

      • Mark

        Okay so using your examples of wasting taxpayers money is okay in your mind. Your thinking is part of the problem then. Let’s just blow your agenda out of contents and make everyone think like you. You totally missed my point. People will be affected but since those people don’t think like you I guess it doesn’t matter.

        • JerseyJ9

          Yes it IS the tax payers money, and gays pay taxes, too. We pay for cops, cleanup, wear and tear after a pro gun rally, too, we pay for cops at the PR parade, we pay for road wear and garbage pick-up and all of the other incidentals, that is what being a part of society it all about.

          I dont agree with a lot of things a lot of people do, like have a billion kids, but that is a part of their freedom as who i want to marry is a part of mine. You have free speech, we heard you dont like it,and everyone else is exercising their free speech to tell you they disagree.

          So feel free to pro-gun it up as it says you can in the constitution, but dont expect the gov’t to enforce your religious morals because the exact same document says you cant!!

          • Mark

            Funny all u liberals think a like. Narrow minded with only one way to see things. Keep wasting our money on stupid stuff then go pat yourself on the back for higher taxes. Sad

          • BarbaraJ

            I own a gun. I’m a heterosexual woman married to the same heterosexual man for the past 27 years. Both my husband and I are Air Force veterans. Don’t try to label me anti-gun or anti-American. Your silly games and bad spelling do not impress me.
            I do not see how anyone else’s marriage damages mine. Two adults of sound mind should be free to marry and be happy!
            I don’t see where justifying discrimination against one segment of society on the basis of bronze age superstitious beliefs is a good thing.
            Thank goodness that Minnesota has take a step towards a future of equality and justice.

        • Upity

          But its ok to use tax payer money on say, the stadium, or the wars based purely on lies, or….. How much could it have cost to put a few flags up? Really… Using the tax card as en excuse to hate is soooo outdated…

    • Lovely Christian.

      It’s OK. It was gay taxpayers money used to put the flags up.
      I agree with you though. It’s an outrage that homosexuals expect to be given equal rights. This could open the floodgates for “undesirable” equality. Next thing we know the blacks will want equal wages and we’ll end up with no room maids or cleaners.

  • samelove

    Wow what a faddy name. Obviously calling civil rights a fad is way offensive, but there’s got to be a better name.

    I like the flags, but the name…the wouldn’t call a bridge named after MLK the ‘Black Freedom-Fighter Speech Giver Bridge.’ Just saying.

    • samelove

      *they

  • random

    I hear a lot of people saying this is a civil rights issue that everyone has the right to marry who they love. I say then why stop at same sex marriage. You should be fighting for polygamy and for brother to marry sister and for father to marry daughter and so on. Some people are morally uncomfortable with same sex marriage and you call them bigots and scream discrimination. Well let’s take all morals out of the law why should we stop where your morally comfortable. While we’re at it we might as well legalize drugs and prostitution as well. Say NO to morals in our laws.

  • Rights right

    What about the person that has 15 cats and doesn’t get a tax break? Are they not allowed to have, rights? I know she loves her cats, is that not love? Flawed system in general, but don’t beat around the bush.

  • Nick

    Kind of a slap in the face to the 911 victims and the heroes who responded. The Wabasha bridge was dedicated to them….not for gay ”marriage”. Mayor Coleman, do you have a rainbow flag displayed in your front yard?

  • Barb Connolly

    I was born and raised in St. Paul and couldn’t be prouder. Thank you St. Paul for passing this very important legislation.

  • Sorry Bob

    The “majority” voted NO on the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage…remember that???

  • able

    Majority? Umm, I believe the majority voted for same sex marriage. I wish you would read what you post before doing so and embarrassing yourself.