Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage on August 1 of this year and Polk County has issued four times as many marriage licenses as the other eight counties combined. One of the major factors is that the northwest county actually provides courthouses with people licensed to perform marriage ceremonies. Director of property records Michelle Cote in particular removed marriage duties from the workload of county judges, expediting the issuing of marriage licenses. Said Cote:
We are just trying to fill a gap in services. Customer service is very important to me. Our court systems are backlogged, and it’s hard for them to squeeze in weddings.
Additionally, Polk County is right next to comparably-sized Grand Forks, North Dakota. Since same-sex marriage is still illegal in North Dakota, couples from Grand Forks cross the boarder to get married, and while the state may not recognize their marriages, the federal government still will and grant all attendant benefits.