Minneapolis mayor to marry SD lesbian couple in defiance of a state ban

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A South Dakota lesbian couple plans to marry Saturday in Minnesota as a challenge to the Mount Rushmore State’s ban on same-sex marriage and its refusal to recognize such nuptials.

The wedding will be performed by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who says she supports the couple’s right to wed.

"I fought very hard for marriage equality in Minnesota. Every state in our country should allow people to marry the person they love. That is equally true for South Dakota. If that makes that real in that state, I'm proud to be part of it," Hodges told the Star Tribune. 

The women, 68-year-old Nancy Robrahn and 72-year-old Jennie Rosenkranz, have been together for 27 years.

They have hired a lawyer to represent them and two other couples, The Sioux City Journal reports.

Same-sex marriage has been banned in South Dakota since 1996. State voters reiterated the prohibition in 2006 with a constitutional amendment that says only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid.

Robrahn and Rosenkranz were previously denied a South Dakota marriage license, giving them standing to legally challenge the state ban, the Star Tribune reports.

The women plan to ask for a legal name change in South Dakota once they’re married in Minnesota. If they are denied, they would then be able to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging a provision which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages in other states.

"So Nancy and Jennie and the other couples have decided not only do we want to challenge the state's marriage ban but the state not recognizing marriages from other states," lawyer Joshua Newville says.

Newville called on South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley not to fight the case. Jackley says he's required by law to defend the constitution and state laws, which he will do if a lawsuit is filed.

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