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Gay North Dakota Couple of More Than 20 Years Denied Marriage License: VIDEO


Tired of waiting and being denied equal rights, Lenny Tweeden and Wayne Rosell, a Fargo, North Dakota couple who have been together for more than 20 years, decided to request a marriage license yesterday even though they knew their request would be rejected. They did it to make a statement, Valley News Live reports.

Watch the couple take their request to the courthouse, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Grand Forks Herald reports:

The end result was not in doubt: North Dakota law does not permit Sandvik or her staff to even provide a marriage application to same-sex couples such as Tweeden and Rosell.

“I hope you understand,” Sandvik told them.

After she turned them down, Sandvik told Tweeden she had received a call from someone in Grand Forks who wanted to express their support for the couple. “I wanted to pass that on to them,” Sandvik said after rejecting Tweeden and Rosell’s request.

Outside the courthouse, a handful of people made signs in support of the couple, while nobody showed up in opposition to gay marriage. Inside, former Fargo Mayor Jon Lindgren, a friend of Tweeden and Rosell, was waiting with bouquets of flowers for the pair before they arrived.


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  1. Good on these guys for trying. It cannot have been an easy thing to do in ND.

    The final words of that clip (spoken by the male anchor) were quite appropriate: "Committed to each other and the cause." That could make a good tagline for marriage equality.

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | Feb 10, 2012 12:00:31 PM

  2. Is Emily Welker just ignorant or is being hateful on purpose ??? Barely acknowledges that these two guys have been together longer than many heterosexual marriages last... Just has to point out that her backwards state is in the majority.... The lady at the counter seems nice.

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Feb 10, 2012 12:16:12 PM

  3. Legally, their best effort would involve going to NY to get a proper marriage license (MA would have a residency requirement) and then file joint state taxes in ND. The legal case would pretty good under full faith and credit, even though the courts tend to regard state law as a mixed bag. However, politically, they make a good point.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 10, 2012 12:37:40 PM

  4. Not sure about going the out of state route. Perhaps they should have looked for a denomination that would "sacramentally" wed them, then sue the state for religious discrimination if it refused to recognize the marriage.

    Posted by: CanadianObserver | Feb 10, 2012 12:56:48 PM

  5. One reason ND is so conservative is because it has a higher population of COWS than humans. If we let cows (most are smarter than the average North Dakotan!), marriage equality wouldn't even be in question. I know this as I was a ND resident for a decade and a half.

    Posted by: Fruit-for-Peace | Feb 10, 2012 2:29:55 PM

  6. It kills me and pi$$es me off that a loving couple like this has no rights! It's B.S. and I pray it will be only a short time for all of the L.G people that they will be granted the same rights as heterosexual couples!

    Posted by: classychazy | Feb 10, 2012 7:35:00 PM

  7. RyanInSacto is right-on. This Emily Welker definitely let her inner-bigot (as well as another b word that comes to mind) shine through while reporting this story. You can't blame the poor thing though...with a rear as huge as hers, it is probably just sexual frustration.

    Posted by: Tony | Feb 11, 2012 2:51:43 AM

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