The following is a copy of a letter from Senator Scott Dibble with photos from his wedding day, personalized and hand-delivered to each of his colleagues in the Minnesota Legislature:

February 27, 2013

Dear colleague,

August 17, 2008 was the happiest day of my life: it's the day I married the love of my life, Richard.

In the coming days and weeks you're going to hear a lot about marriage: what it is, why it is so important, who should and should not be allowed to get married under the laws of our state.

That's why I'd like to share a little of our story with you. Richard and I met over eight years ago. Our love was instant and transformative. We are blessed to have each other. Every day we're amazed at our good fortune.

We were lucky to be able marry during the narrow window in 2008 when all marriages were legal in California. We stood before our God, our family and friends and declared our love and lifelong commitment, and celebrated our love in ritual and ceremony. That moment was our unique and special opportunity to ask for the support of our family and community, to help keep us strong and hold us accountable to our publicly declared bond and commitment.

The effect of that occasion was more profound than we could have imagined. Our family, who had always been loving and supportive, understood us and had a connection to our relationship in a way that just didn't exist previously. Marriage is simply meaningful in ways that nothing else is.

Since that time, like other families, we've supported each other through triumphs and difficulties. Health challenges and economic challenges from the recession have been overcome. There is nothing I wouldn't do for him and nothing he wouldn't do for me.

Through it all, family and friends have been by our side. Likewise, together we've been a support to our family and friends: we provide care for Richard's father who has grown frail and we're joyous at the imminent arrival of a great-nephew.

Life can be hard from time to time. But sharing the burden alongside that special, amazing someone: your husband or wife — and when the love and support of family, friends and community surrounds you — makes the challenges of life easier to overcome.

Love, commitment, responsibility. Family. Upholding and affirming exactly what we treasure and value the most in our lives: protecting the people we love. Marriage means family in a way that nothing else does.

In Minnesota, it should not be illegal to marry the person you love. The bills before us simply ask us to treat everyone with dignity and respect — as we would want to be treated ourselves. It's really no more complicated. Nothing changes. Nothing is redefined.

Marriage is actually strengthened when we make it available to all people and encourage commitment, responsibility and caring for each other.

We know that nothing bad happens when marriage is strengthened. Only good things happen. Families are stronger and more resilient. Children are taken care of. When people are allowed to take positive action on their own behalf, our community and state are made stronger. Freedom itself is expanded.

And freedom isn't just for some of us. It is for all of us.

I've enclosed some photos I would also like to share with you. They're of my family, Richard's family, and a happy day we shared together. Look deeply into your own heart. I'm sure you would not want to deny Minnesotans, people you know to be good and strong and loving, a chance at this kind of happiness.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Scott Dibble Signature

Scott Dibble, State Senator

Dibble-Leyva families photos