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Superior Couple Married in City's First Same-Sex Wedding

Updated: 06/09/2014 11:03 PM
Created: 06/09/2014 10:32 PM WDIO.com

A Superior couple is celebrating a Wisconsin judge's decision to deny a request to halt same-sex marriage ceremonies in the state after the judge struck down the state's ban on Friday.

Alvin Berg and Vince Nelson became the first same-sex couple to be married in Superior after their wedding ceremony at the Flame Nightclub Monday afternoon.

The couple co-owns the Flame Nightclubs in Duluth and Superior and invited family and friends to watch them make history at their Tower Avenue location via a Facebook announcment about 45 minutes before the ceremony.

Berg said the impromptu wedding reflected the Wisconsin's attorney general's recent moves to put an end to same-sex marriages in the state.

"We understand that the attorney general is trying to halt all the marriages, and in the event that that would happen, we would want to get our license application filled out and registered, which would make ours legal in case they do reverse it or halt the decision," Berg said.

Nelson said he and Berg have been together for 30 years, and that this decision to allow same sex marriages came not a moment too soon.

"It's unfortunate that it took a judge to overturn it instead of a referendum, but it's discriminatory toward everybody," Nelson said. "Everybody should have the same rights that all Americans enjoy."

In January, the couple was featured in a front-page New York Times article comparing and contrasting Duluth and Superior. Berg and Nelson said they had plans to move to Minnesota after gay marriage was legalized in August of last year.

Although their plans to relocate fell through, after Friday's ruling striking down Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban the two plan to keep Wisconsin their home.

"The people in Wisconsin are overwhelmingly in favor or gay marriage now, and so we feel at home here and we want to stay where we are," Nelson said.

Berg and Nelson weren't the only ones to take advantage of the judge's ruling Monday. Hundreds of other couples rushed to take their vows across the state as well.

Aside from Douglas County, Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Iron and Sawyer counties are all issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Some county clerks are waiting to distribute licenses until they receive an offical order from the court or state.

Berg's daughter and Nelson's mother joined the couple onstage, but not everyone in the about 15-person strong crowd were familiar to the couple. Kathy Nelson did not know either Vince Nelson or Berg, but volunteered to officiate the ceremony after seeing a Facebook post Monday afternoon.

"It's been long since coming, and everybody deserves to be married if that's what they choose to do," Kathy Nelson said.

Berg said his wedding was a long time coming, and he hopes other couples across the state will continue to be able to follow suit.

"It feels great," Berg said. "We're legally married, which we thought we would never be able to do in our lifetime, so it feels great."

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