Skip to main content

Same-sex marriage: N.D. ban challenged, Wisconsin's overturned

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Seven same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in Fargo Friday, challenging North Dakota's ban on gay marriage. Hours later a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled a similar ban in that state is unconstitutional.

The Fargo Forum reports the new lawsuit argues North Dakota must recognize same-sex marriages conducted legally elsewhere. The state's voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as an opposite-sex union.

Wisconsin ruling

In Wisconsin it was not immediately clear whether Friday's ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb would open the door to same-sex marriages.

The Associated Press reports that in Wisconsin some county clerks kept their offices open late and were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday evening.

There was some disagreement, though, about whether the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb was really intended to open the door to weddings.

The AP reports Wisconsin Attorney General J.P. Van Hollen asked Judge Crabb to issue an emergency order putting a stop to the marriages until the ruling is clarified. Hollen also promised the state will appeal the ruling.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski told the Journal-Sentinel it was unclear Friday evening if the clerks were authorized to issue marriage licenses.

"It's a very unusual situation," Borowski said. "I don't know who is performing the ceremonies. Issuing the licenses is one thing, but you need someone with the legal authority to perform the ceremony."

Wisconsin's lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin on behalf of eight gay couples. The suit argued that Wisconsin's prohibition deprived gay couples of the legal protections of marriage because of their gender and sexual orientation.

Voters approved Wisconsin's constitutional amendment in 2006. Gov. Scott Walker is a long-time opponent of gay marriage. But the AP notes that in recent months Walker has not had much to say about the issue, calling it a matter for the courts and voters to decide.

A Washington Post blogger writes that gay marriage opponents around the country seem to be drifting away from the issue. The Post and ABC News released a new poll Friday in which 56 percent of respondents around the country said they support the right of gay people to marry.

North Dakota challenge

The seven couples suing North Dakota are represented by Minneapolis attorney Joshua Newville, who is also handling a similar challenge in South Dakota. The suit argues North Dakota's ban targets same-sex couples for discrimination based on their orientation.

Voters approved North Dakota's constitutional amendment a decade ago with 73 percent support. But state Rep. Josh Boschee tells MPR News the state has changed since then. Boschee became North Dakota's first openly gay legislator when he was elected in 2012.

USA Today reports North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem would not comment on specifics of the lawsuit the day it was filed but noted it is the constitutional duty of the attorney general to defend the state when it is sued. The executive director of the North Dakota Family Alliance told the newspaper that group will help defend the case.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.

Eli Hart

6-year-old Eli Hart identified as boy found dead in car trunk

The kindergartner's father was trying to get full custody of his son.

IMG_3509

Boy found dead in trunk of car in Mound was kindergartner

"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community," the superintendent wrote.

Minneapolis police

Man found yelling for help after being shot in Minneapolis

The shooting occurred on the 800 block of Elwood Avenue North at around 9:15 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

Minneapolis North principal says she was fired, district says otherwise

“MPS requires schools to follow protocols in times like that and I did not,” Friestleben said.

Kris Richard Severin

Inmate who escaped Minnesota prison is captured

The inmate escaped Wednesday morning.

Brave New Comedy Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

Brave New Workshop cancels shows due to COVID-19 cases

The shows were scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre.

Austin Retterath

Body of missing U of M student found in Mississippi River

Austin Retterath was last seen alive in the morning hours of May 8.

"Love" mural seen in St. Paul.

Summer mural events to bring together community, shine light on MN artists

The 2022 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival will take place this weekend in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, with ensuing events happening this summer.

14869-Manitou-Road-NE-Prior-Lake-MN-55372-6110268-image37

Gallery: Remodeled lakeside home in Prior Lake on market for $2.8M

It offers privacy at the end of a dead-end road fronting onto Lower Prior Lake.

golden valley police department

Carjacking outside ice arena in Golden Valley under investigation

Golden Valley PD confirmed it received a report of a carjacking Monday evening.

Related

Target offers same-sex marriage greeting cards

The Minneapolis-based discount giant has not taken a stance on the controversial amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota, but Target stores are now selling greeting cards honoring gay couples. The cards feature phrases like "Mr. & Mr." and "Two very special women, one very special love."