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Federal Judge Halts Challenge To North Dakota Same-Sex Marriage Ban Until SCOTUS Rules

A lawsuit challenging North Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage has been put on hold by a federal judge until the Supreme Court rules on whether there exists a constitutional right to marry. The AP reports:

NdU.S. District Chief Judge Ralph Erickson filed an order Tuesday staying the case brought by seven same-sex couples in June. The lawsuit challenges both North Dakota's ban on gay marriage and its refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in other states.

Last week the Supreme Court announced that it will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.

If you haven't already done so, check out our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of the Supreme Court's decision to take up the four cases challenging bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee HERE.

Lawyer Requests Summary Judgment in Case Challenging North Dakota's Gay Marriage Ban

Joshua Newville, the lawyer representing seven gay couples in a challenge to North Dakota's gay marriage ban has filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, the AP reports:

NewvilleIn June, Newville filed the federal lawsuit, which challenges a voter-approved 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that passed with more than 73 percent of the vote. It claims it violates protections found in the U.S. Constitution, including the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

In the memorandum, Newville argues that the plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgment on their constitutional claims.

Newville is also representing plaintiffs in a challenge to South Dakota's gay marriage ban and filed a motion for summary judgment in that case earlier this month.

North Dakota Officials File Motion To Dismiss Gay Marriage Lawsuit

The motion to dismiss the challenge to that state's ban on gay marriage (filed last month) was introduced late Tuesday by the state attorney general's office.

BahrNorth Dakota Solicitor General Doug Bahr wrote in his 50-page proposal:

"Nothing in the United States Constitution prevents the people of North Dakota from defining marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman...The people of North Dakota, through the deliberative political process, retain the traditional understanding of marriage as the union between a man and a woman....The fact North Dakota's marriage laws are different from the marriage laws of some other states does not establish a viable claim that the challenged provisions violate the right to interstate travel."

Additionally, according to Forum News ServiceBahr argues the state needs more data on gay marriage before it considers making it legal.

"No society has yet had a generation's worth of experience permitting same-sex marriage. Other states' experience with same-sex marriage could provide valuable practical data about the effects of same-sex marriage," Bahr wrote. "North Dakota could rationally decide to wait until it obtains more information about the effects of same-sex marriage before deciding to permit it in North Dakota."

Monday Speed Read: Wisconsin, North Dakota, Iowa, G-7 Commitment, Capital Pride

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service


A federal judge in Wisconsin Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying and, while some clerks began issuing marriage licenses immediately, the state attorney general said he would seek an emergency stay. In Wolf v. Walker, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb (a Carter appointee) said the ban violates the constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. She said she would address the state’s motion for a stay after she receives briefs from both parties later this month as to how they think she should word an injunction against enforcement of the ban.


In her 88-page decision in Wolf v. Walker, Judge Barbara Crabb addressed concerns of opponents head on: “This case is not about whether marriages between same-sex couples are consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of a particular religion, whether such marriages are moral or immoral or whether they are something that should be encouraged or discouraged…. Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution.”


Judge Barbara Crabb also had this to say about conservative organizations’ argument that marriage is essentially about procreation: “Civil marriage is a legal construct, not a biological rule of nature, so it can be and has been changed over the years….”


A private attorney filed a lawsuit in federal court in North Dakota Friday, making that state the last one whose ban on same-sex marriage is under challenge by a lawsuit. Joshua Newville of Minneapolis filed the lawsuit, Ramsay v Dalrymple, on behalf of seven couples in Fargo.


The owner of a wedding business in Des Moines has appealed to the state supreme court to stop an investigation by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission of the business’s refusal to serve same-sex couples. Lambda Legal announced June 5 that it had filed a brief with the Iowa Supreme Court on behalf of a same-sex couple who had been refused service by the Gortz Haus Gallery. The group notes that the Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations.


The language was not part of the G-7 agenda going into the June 4-5 meeting, but the “Declaration” issued June 5 by the seven nations of the G-7 summit calls for the promotion of “all human rights.” The final statement says: “We reaffirm our commitment to the protection and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom, for all persons. We recognize the need to show unprecedented resolve to promote gender equality, to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, to end child, early and forced marriage and to promote full participation and empowerment of all women and girls.” The G-7 nations include Canada, France, German, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Washington, D.C.’s Pride parade Saturday was sponsored by the Marriott Hotels, whose owner is from a devout Mormon family and contributor to the Mitt Romney campaign.  The parade was led by a U.S. military color guard. And in an address to celebrate Pride Month at the Pentagon June 5, DOD Deputy Secretary Robert Work singled out several people for recognition. Among them were Brigadier General Tammy Smith, the first openly gay general officer in the U.S. military; Amanda Simpson, the highest ranking transgendered civilian appointee to the DOD; and Eric Fanning, Under-Secretary of the Air Force.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

No State's Gay Marriage Ban Left Unchallenged After 7 Couples File Suit in North Dakota: VIDEO


North Dakota was the last state with an unchallenged ban on gay marriage before Friday, when seven couples filed suit in U.S. District Court in Fargo, the Guardian reports:

The legal move completes a sweep of all 31 states that still have laws in place restricting marriage to a union of one man and one woman.

The lodging of the final lawsuit in North Dakota underlines the judicial wind of change that has swept America since the US supreme court introduced federal recognition of gay marriage in a landmark ruling last June. The nation’s highest panel of judges struck down key parts of the federal ban, the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

“Since the supreme court’s historic decision, there hasn’t been a single state same-sex marriage ban that has survived a court challenge. It really is only a matter of time before marriage equality is the law of the land nationwide,” said Charlie Joughin, spokesman of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT group in the US.

Watch two of the plaintiff couples talk to KRDO, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "No State's Gay Marriage Ban Left Unchallenged After 7 Couples File Suit in North Dakota: VIDEO" »

North Dakota Man Captures Incredible Close Call with Tornado: VIDEO


Dan Yorgason of Watford, North Dakota had an incredibly close call with a tornado on Monday and lived to post a YouTube video of it.

Writes Yorgason: "Warning - STRONG LANGUAGE! We were afraid for our lives, so, yes, we swore. A lot. You have been warned!"


Continue reading "North Dakota Man Captures Incredible Close Call with Tornado: VIDEO" »


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