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North Dakota's Gay-Marriage Ban Challenged In Federal Court

NPR icon by Scott Neuman
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Will Kincaid

North Dakota is no longer the only state to have its same-sex marriage ban go unchallenged: Seven couples on Friday filed suit in federal court in Fargo seeking to overturn a 2004 voter-approved amendment to the state's Constitution prohibiting the practice.

The Associated Press reports:

"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."

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs said North Dakota "will incur little to no burden in allowing same-sex couples to marry and in recognizing the lawful marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions on the same terms as different-sex couples."

It said the state's ban, approved a decade ago by nearly three-quarters of voters, subjects same-sex couples seeking to marry to "an irreparable denial of their constitutional rights."

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the question of same-sex marriage has been wending its way through the courts in numerous states.

In April, for example, a federal judge said he would require the state to recognize gay marriages.

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