2016 Press Releases

National Archives To Host Program on America’s First Gay Marriage October 7
Press Release · Friday, September 30, 2016

Washington, DC

On Friday, October 7, at noon the National Archives will present a program with America’s first legally married gay couple, Michael McConnell and Jack Baker, discussing their story told in the new book, The Wedding Heard ’Round the World: America’s First Gay Marriage. The program is free and open to the public, reserve your seat online. A book signing follows the program. Presented in collaboration with Stonewall@NARA, the National Archives LGBTQ employee Affinity Group.


The program will be live streamed on the National Archives YouTube channel.

The Wedding Heard ’Round the World: America’s First Gay Marriage
On September 3, 1971, Michael McConnell and Jack Baker exchanged vows in the first legal same-sex wedding in the United States. Repercussions were immediate: Michael’s job offer at the University of Minnesota was rescinded, leading him to wage a battle against job discrimination with the help of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union. The couple eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court with two precedent-setting cases. Their remarkable story is told for the first time—a unique account of the passion and energy of the gay liberation movement in the sixties and seventies.

The program will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum. The National Archives Building is located at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station. Attendees should enter through the Special Events entrance on 7th and Constitution Ave, NW.

Additional Resources

Mike McConnell and Jack Baker have two Supreme Court cases in National Archives’ holdings.

  • Baker v. Nelson – (1972) in which they challenged Minnesota’s denying them the right to marry. This case was mentioned (and reversed) in the 2015 Obergefell decision.
  • The entire case file is digitized and in the NARA Catalog online. Read the Discovering LGBTQ History Tumblr post Marriage in Minnesota, 1970.
  • McConnell v. Anderson – (1972) McConnell had been all but offered a librarian position with the University of Minnesota. This was revoked after the publicity of his first attempt to marry Jack Baker.

Follow Discovering LGBTQ History: Records in the National Archives’ Collection on Tumblr.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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This page was last reviewed on December 21, 2016.
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