A federal lawsuit filed Friday in North
Dakota leaves no state with a gay marriage ban without an active case
Plaintiffs in the case are seven gay
and lesbian couples who are being presented by Minneapolis attorney
Josh Newville, who is also representing six couples in a lawsuit
challenging South Dakota's marriage ban.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court
in Fargo, claims the state's restrictive marriage ban violates the
14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“The marriage bans inflict serious
and irreparable harms upon same-sex couples and their children that
cannot be explained by reference to any legitimate government
Seventy-three percent of voters in 2004
approved an amendment to the state's constitution defining marriage
as “between a man and a woman.” The prohibition also appears in
Carl Tobias, a constitutional law
professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, told the AP
that since North Dakota was the last state to jump into the fray, its
case is not likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, where the issue
is expected to be decided.
“It's symbolic, but sometimes
symbolism is important, right? I think it has real, practical,
actual effects on people nationwide and in North Dakota,” he said.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to
Marry, said that with all 31 state marriage bans facing at least one
active marriage lawsuit, now was the time for the Supreme Court to
take up the issue.
“With today's addition of North
Dakota, courts in every state are considering a freedom to marry case
– 70-plus cases in total. With 50%
of Americans believing the freedom to marry is a constitutional
right, and a strong majority supporting marriage for gay couples,
it's time the Supreme Court bring resolution nationwide. The time is
now to get on the right side of history,” Wolfson said in a