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 2020-12-02 at 9.55.05 PM

Small plane lands on northbound I-35W in Twin Cities

A large police presence is at the scene.

Plainview

Judge orders Minnesota gym that defied shutdown to close

Attorney General Keith Ellison sued the gym after it remained open.

montana cutbank

Charges: Man shot victim 'without provocation' using sawed-off shotgun

The incident happened on Nov. 24 in Ten Lake Township, located in Beltrami County.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Walz, first responders address Minnesotans

Some departments have been forced to shift staffing or suspend service due to COVID-19.

covid-19, coronavirus

CDC says COVID-19 quarantine period can be cut to 10 or 7 days

You can come out of a 7-day quarantine following exposure provided you've had a negative test.

maple grove fire

1 person found dead inside Maple Grove business that burned down

A person had been unaccounted following the fire that destroyed Hanson Implement and Storage Tuesday night.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Appeals court rules MN high school students can get unemployment benefits

They've been denied the benefits, and some were even asked to pay them back.

covid-19, coronavirus

Dec. 2 COVID-19 update: 77 more deaths in Minnesota

The death toll is closing in on 3,700 in Minnesota.

City Pages

Fan creates City Pages archive, Star Tribune tells him to remove it

After word spread that the defunct newspaper's website would go down, a fan created his own copy. Then he got a cease and desist letter.

Adam Thielen

Vikings activate Adam Thielen off COVID-19/reserve list

The star receiver missed last week's victory over Carolina.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.27.14 AM

Naked man shot by St. Paul cop is charged for sexual assault of ex-girlfriend

The 31-year-old suspect remains at Regions Hospital after being shot.

Related