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Updated: Lawsuit Filed Challenging North Dakota's Same-Sex Marri - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Updated: Lawsuit Filed Challenging North Dakota's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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North Dakota's same sex marriage ban is being challenged by seven couples in the area who filed a lawsuit against the state.

"We are simply looking for the same recognition that every other couple has, every other loving couple that North Dakota has,” says David Hamiltion, one of the plaintiffs on the lawsuit, "We really think that it's just appropriate to go through the legal process, and see where that takes us."

Bernie Erickson, and David Hamilton, two plaintiffs stamped on the lawsuit, but united in marriage.

"We are just basic, plain nice hard working couples, just trying to build a life for us and the people we love," says Bernie.

Between this couple there are four children, and three grandchildren.

"It's just a matter or equal protection, under the law, and that's what America is based on, really, is equal protection under the law," says David.

But, North Dakota doesn't legally recognize their marriage. Something they are hoping to change.

"I think there is a very strong majority in our state today who would still favor marriage between a man and a woman," says Tom Frier, with North Dakota Family Alliance.

They didn't wish for this lawsuit but, he's trying to look at it in a more positive light.

"The discussion of marriage needs to take place. The same sex issue now and the lawsuit that has been filed today is going to do more at really looking inwardly into as a people of North Dakota and reviewing what marriage really is," says Frier.

For Bernie, and David they hope to someday file tax returns like any other married couple. They also hope to protect the life they have been building together for 12 years.

"As these things seem to go, it does not fit into an hours worth of law and order,” says David while laughing,” So we will just be waiting to see what happens next."

For people on both sides of the issue, they don't know if they'll see any legal change. But, they're all hoping to have the discussion.

This suit means all 31 states which have banned same-sex marriage have been legally challenged with cases pending in the courts.

Nine of those states' bans have already been ruled unconstitutional by judges with many pending appeal.

North Dakota's constitutional ban was passed in 2004 by 73% of voters.


Original Story:
According to CBS News, seven couples have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ban on same-sex marriage in North Dakota.

The suit was filed today at the U.S. District court in Fargo. 

It 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.

The lawsuit means cases are currently pending in all 31 states with gay marriage bans, because North Dakota was the last remaining state without a court challenge.

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.

Minneapolis-based attorney Josh Newville, who is representing the North Dakota couples, also filed a lawsuit on behalf of South Dakota couples in May.
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