A Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday
overturned a lower court's ruling dismissing a lawsuit challenging
the constitutionality of the state's ban on gay marriage, the Star
The case will now go to trial in the
Hennepin Country District Court where it was originally filed.
“We have achieved a great victory
today,” said Peter Nickitas, a lawyer for Marry Me Minnesota, the
nonprofit group representing the plaintiffs. “We're back in the
District Court, and we're fighting it out.”
Voters in the state will decide in
November whether to amend the Minnesota Constitution to define
marriage as a heterosexual union.
The case was filed on May 11, 2010 by
three gay couples: Doug Benson and Duane Gajewski; Thomas Trisko and
John Rittman; and Jessica Dykhuis and Lindzi Campbell along with
their 2-year-old son Sean.
Benson, who also serves as executive
director of Marry Me Minnesota, called the ruling a win.
“It's a win for us personally. It's
a win for same-sex couples across the state. It's a win for the
Constitution, for justice,” he said.
However, the state's largest gay rights
advocate, OutFront Minnesota, warned that the Minnesota Supreme Court
would likely rule against the plaintiffs.
“Most legal analysts believe that, in
all likelihood, means they would rule against the plaintiffs and have
the potential to set back LGBT equality,” Phil Duran, legal
director for the group, told the paper.
In its 15-page decision, the court said
plaintiffs had a right to go make their case.