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

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

WisconsinWISCONSIN BAN STRUCK, APPEAL COMING:

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.

WHAT THIS IS NOT ABOUT: Crabb

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.”

NOT ABOUT THE LAWS OF NATURE:

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….”

NorthdakotaNORTH DAKOTA LAWSUIT FILED:

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.

IOWA SUPREME COURT GETS PLEA: Iowa

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.

G-7 SUMMIT COMMITMENT: G7countries

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.

OVER THE RAINBOW: Dc

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

Northdakota

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

Tornado

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!"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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


Attorney Challenging South Dakota’s Gay Marriage Ban May Also Take On North Dakota’s Ban

Joshua NewvilleJoshua Newville, the Minneapolis lawyer who currently represents three South Dakota gay couples in a federal class action lawsuit against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is reportedly considering a challenge to North Dakota’s ban as well.

The AP reports:

Joshua Newville says he's been contacted by interested couples in North Dakota who want to challenge the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. North Dakotans overwhelmingly supported the constitutional amendment in 2004, passing a ballot measure with 73 percent approval.

Same-sex marriage opponents say a challenge wouldn't be entirely unexpected. When Newville officially challenges the South Dakota law, North Dakota and Montana will be the only states where same-sex marriage isn't legal or a constitutional ban isn't being contested in court.

Newville, however, cautioned that he is merely “exploring the possibility” of representing couples in North Dakota and that no concrete plans have been made. 


North Dakota AG Says Man in Out-of-State Gay Marriage Can Marry Woman Without Divorcing First

In a decision that illustrates just how asinine the current patchwork, state-based solution to the gay marriage issue is, North Dakota attorney general Wayne Stenehjem has announced that individuals in out-of-state same-sex marriages can obtain marriage licenses in the state without getting divorced first. Grand Forks’s WDAZ 8 reports

Wayne StenehjemBurleigh County State’s Attorney Richard Riha said he requested the opinion after a man who still had a legal same-sex marriage in another state came to the county recorder’s office in September and applied for a marriage license to wed a woman.

“You don’t see those every day,” he said.

Riha asked Stenehjem for his opinion on whether a county recorder could issue a marriage license in such a case in which the person with the same-sex marriage hadn’t gotten a divorce.

Same-sex marriage isn’t recognized as legally valid under North Dakota’s Constitution and state law, which both explicitly define marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman. 

State law also requires that a prior marriage be dissolved or annulled before a new marriage license can be issued. 

In his opinion, Stenehjem wrote that a person’s previously valid same-sex marriage in another state isn’t recognized in North Dakota, so he or she may still obtain a valid marriage license here. The person also isn’t committing a crime by indicating on the marriage license application that he or she was single or never married, the opinion states.

Stenenhjem, however, declined to weigh in on whether or not an individual in this situation would be violating the other state’s bigamy law if he or she moved back, saying that he would “defer to state legislatures to resolve this unique issue.” 


Will Ferrell Anchors Entire Bismarck, ND Newscast as Ron Burgundy: VIDEO

Burgundy

In an extended bit of viral marketing, Will Ferrell anchored an entire real-life newscast on Saturday night in Bismarck, North Dakota as his Anchorman character Ron Burgundy. His real-life co-anchors often struggled to keep a straight face.

The AP reports:

No money changed hands, Blumhagen said, and both the movie and television station are garnering significant publicity from the numerous shares on Facebook and Twitter.

Station managers did want some assurances that the stunt wouldn't go too far, and Blumhagen said Ferrell was on board with maintaining the integrity of the newscast.

Schatz, who typically anchors the weekend newscasts alone, said she didn't learn that she'd share the dais until Wednesday. It was a complete surprise to viewers.

Watch the full newscast, AFTER THE JUMP...

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