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Rainbow Round Table Oral History Project: Michael McConnell

A portal for the Rainbow Round Table Oral History Project, hosted by the American Library Association Archives.

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Michael McConnell was a founding member of the American Library Association’s Task Force on Gay Liberation. After an outstanding service of thirty seven years with the Hennepin County Library, one of the premier libraries in the country, McConnell retired in 2010. Early in his career he was offered a position at the University of Minnesota, but it was rescinded because he had applied for a marriage license with his husband, Jack Baker. This action propelled both McConnell and Baker into the fight for the right to marry and to combat job discrimination for LGBTQ+ people. 

The couple managed to marry in 1971 with a state-issued license from Blue Earth County, Minnesota, in a ceremony officiated by a Methodist minister. They are recognized as the first legally-married same sex couple in the United States.

In 2016 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker were named the inaugural recipients of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) Award for Political Activism. The award was presented on Monday, June 27, 2016 during the Stonewall Book Awards program at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

“McConnell and Baker’s activism opened doors,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “Despite tremendous adversity, they both worked tirelessly to advocate for GLBT equality, and their actions helped to change the working environment for GLBT library workers, as well as shape the national conversation to the present and beyond.”

McConnell and Baker are the co-authors of the memoir, The Wedding Heard ’Round the World: America’s First Gay Marriage, published in 2016 by the University of Minnesota Press.

Pronouns: He, him, his

Source: Jake Baker & Michael McConnell: LGBTQ History Month

Source: ALA News: McConnell and Baker receive ALA GLBTRT Award for Political Activism


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Unless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.