Part 1: Our Hall of Fame
BY Advocate Contributors
March 14 2012 2:00 AM ET
In 1970, Jack Baker (left) and his partner, Michael McConnell, became the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license anywhere. They were turned away, and Baker sued the state of Minnesota in the landmark case Baker v. Nelson. His case was eventually thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he lost his job as a librarian at the University of Minnesota, but still Baker persevered.
He adopted his partner, earning him access to the types of benefits afforded dependents. In 1971, Baker and four others launched Gay House, a single-family home on Ridgewood Avenue that was meant to be a sort of LGBT youth center near the university. The house eventually offered a hotline and provided counseling services. He also sought to grow a library of periodicals, books, and other resources for LGBT people to better understand their history and rights. —Michelle Garcia