St. Paul dresses in gay pride colors

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.

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: