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North Dakota Marriage Equality Fight Gets Second Lawsuit

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

North DakotaAnother lawsuit has been filed for North Dakota marriage equality.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A second lawsuit has been filed in federal court challenging North Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriage. The 33-page complaint filed by Jan Jorgensen and Cindy Phillips, who live in Fargo and were legally married in Minnesota, says the couple is treated as “legal strangers” in their home state. Cases are currently pending in all 31 states with gay marriage bans.

This one’s filed by Lambda Legal.

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North Dakota Marriage Equality Lawsuit Filed

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

North DakotaThe last domino has fallen. There’s now officially a North Dakota marriage equality lawsuit, the last state in the nation to get one.

Edge Boston reports:

Seven couples filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in North Dakota, making it the last state in the country to be sued by couples seeking the right to marry in their home state. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Fargo, challenges both North Dakota’s constitutional ban on gay marriage and its refusal to recognize marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in other states. That means cases are currently pending in all 31 states with gay marriage bans. Judges have overturned several of those bans since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. North Dakota attorney general’s office said it had not yet seen the suit and was not commenting. The 2004 voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was passed by 73 percent of voters.

Every state in the US now either has marriage equality or is facing a lawsuit to bring it about. Every. Single. State.

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North Dakota Marriage Equality Ban Challenged

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

North DakotaIt’s official – an attorney has announced that he will bring a lawsuit against the North Dakota marriage equality ban – the last state in the union that doesn’t face such a lawsuit.

The Advocate reports:

Minneapolis-based attorney Joshua Newville confirmed to the Post that he and other attorneys are preparing to file a lawsuit challenging North Dakota’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, which was approved by 73 percent of voters in 2004. That suit is expected to be filed in the next six to eight weeks, Newville said. Newville is also one of the attorneys representing six same-sex couples challenging South Dakota’s antigay constitutional amendment, which was filed in federal district court on Thursday.

And then there were zero.

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North Dakota Marriage Equality Ban to Face Lawsuit

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

North DakotaThe last state not facing a marriage lawsuit is about to get such a challenge. North Dakota marriage equality is coming.

The Washington Post reports:

“There will be a case filed challenging North Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban,” says Joshua Newville, a Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney who filed a suit Thursday against South Dakota’s ban on behalf of same-sex couples there. Newville is in talks with advocates and attorneys in North Dakota and confirmed that either he or another attorney will bring a lawsuit against that state’s ban within six to eight weeks. Until Wednesday, just three of the 33 states that ban same-sex marriage had not been sued over those policies. But same-sex couples sued Montana that day and South Dakota on Thursday, leaving only North Dakota’s unchallenged.

And then there were none.

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South Dakota Marriage Equality Ban Challenged

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

South Dakota mapA South Dakota marriage equality lawsuit was just filed.

Equality on Trial reports:

Six same-sex couples in South Dakota are challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Filed by attorneys based in Minnesota and South Dakota, the suit alleges that the state’s refusal to marry same-sex couples or recognize their out of state marriages violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the federal Constitution… The complaint urges the district court to apply heightened scrutiny to the Equal Protection claims. They claim violations of Equal Protection based on sex, which already receives heightened scrutiny, but also based on sexual orientation: The exclusion of Plaintiffs from marriage based on their sexual orientation subjects Defendants’ conduct to strict or at least heightened scrutiny. Defendants’ conduct cannot withstand this scrutiny because the exclusion does not serve any legitimate governmental interests, let alone any important or compelling interests, and does not serve any interests in an adequately tailored manner.

That means North Dakota stands alone in the US with a unchallenged ban. And the attorney in the South Dakota case indicates he may sue in North Dakota as well.

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Attorney in South Dakota Marriage Equality Lawsuit May Also Challenge North Dakota’s Ban

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

North DakotaThe attorney who is representing a South Dakota marriage equality lawsuit may also sue North Dakota, which would mean every single US state would have marriage equality or a lawsuit pushing for it.

Towleroad.com reports:

Joshua 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.

In related news, Thompson Mayor Karyn Hippen became the first North Dakota mayor to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Thompson Mayor Karyn Hippen, who heads a town of less than 1,000 residents south of Grand Forks, said she’s proud to be the 400th member to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, organized by the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry. The issue hits close to home for Hippen, she said, because her oldest son is gay. When he came out to her, she said “it broke my heart to think that society’s rules might stand in his way when it comes to marriage equality.”

Anyone surprised that North Dakota would be the last state to get a lawsuit?

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USA: 30 States Have Marriage Equality Lawsuits; 5 Left to Go

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Gay WeddingOnly five states that haven’t legalized marriage equality aren’t yet facing a marriage equality lawsuit – and two may be facing one soon.

The Washington Post reports:

Gay marriage is now legal in 17 states and bans are being challenged in 30, according to the latest count from Lambda Legal, a pro-gay marriage organization. (Hawaii and Illinois allow gay marriage, but legal technicalities to aspects of their laws are still being ironed out in the courts.) The five states with bans on gay marriage that stand unchallenged are: Alaska, Georgia, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The five unchallenged state gay marriage bans may not stand for long. Already, a South Dakota couple has plans to challenge their state ban. And the Supreme Court could soon weigh in.

The other state of the five that may soon have its own suit:

“We have been working to identify the best course of action to bring marriage equality to Georgia,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Beth Littrell tells GA Voice. “We will be announcing the result of that work very soon. I can assure you Georgia won’t be left behind when it comes to marriage equality.”

How long until we have marriage equality in all fifty states? Your best guess?

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USA, North Dakota: New Tax Form for Married Gays

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

North DakotaNorth Dakota is rolling out a new tax form specifically for married gays and lesbians.

Joe.My.God reports:

North Dakota now has a tax form for married same-sex couples, and it’s precisely because the state doesn’t recognize such marriages. For the North Dakota tax department, that posed a bit of a dilemma, according to Lorie Bowker, who oversees the department’s income tax section. She said its answer was the form ND-1S, which was posted online about a week ago. It’s basically a work form for divvying up a couple’s federal tax filing so they can file as individuals in North Dakota. Bowker said, like the federal government, there is a “marriage penalty” built into the North Dakota tax code, so filing as individuals could be beneficial to same-sex couples.

So they recognize that we’re married. But they won’t recognize that we’re married.

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North Dakota, USA: Grand Forks Adds Protection for LGBT Employees

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

North DakotaGrand Forks, North Dakota, just became the first city in this conservative state to protect its LGBT employees. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Grand Forks has become the first city in North Dakota to protect city employees and city job applicants from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The City Council voted Monday night to add the protection to local law. The measure shares the intent of an anti-discrimination bill that failed in the state Legislature earlier this year. “This is simply a matter of assuring liberty and justice for all,” Councilman Bret Weber said.

More cracks in the dam, as our friend Arturo says…

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North Dakota, USA: State Among Highest by Percentage of Gay Couples Raising Children

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Many of the places that ban gay marriage are also among the places with the highest rates of gay and lesbian couples raising children. The Atlantic Cities reports:

Grand Forks, North Dakota, probably isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you think of same-sex couples. For one thing, it’s Grand Forks, North Dakota. Then of course there’s the matter of North Dakota having a state ban on same-sex marriage. But the law hasn’t discouraged these couples from starting a family; on the contrary, 65 percent of gay couples in Grand Forks are raising children. That’s according to a new infographic from the Williams Institute at UCLA. The figure shows that many of the highest percentages of same-sex couples raising children are found in states that ban gay marriage.

I wonder if the rates of straight couples raising children are similarly distributed?

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