Gay North Dakotans Find Marriage Oasis in Minnesota

Thursday Jun 5, 2014
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BISMARCK, N.D. - Same-sex marriage has been legal in Minnesota for more than 10 months, and many North Dakotans are taking advantage of the law change in their neighboring state.

Nearly two times as many same-sex couples from North Dakota have filed for marriage licenses across the border in Clay County than have Minnesotans there since August, according to records from the County Recorder’s office.

Deputy Recorder Lisa Kunze said Wednesday that 40 of the 68 same-sex marriage licenses filed in the county since August of last year have been between two North Dakotans. Five more involved one North Dakota resident.

State marriage bans have been falling nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

A lawsuit filed by six couples in South Dakota two weeks ago left North Dakota as the only state in the country with an unchallenged constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Joshua Newville, the Minneapolis-based attorney behind that lawsuit, said he’s considering a similar motion in North Dakota.

"It’s either going to be me or another attorney that’s going to bring the case," Newville said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Advocates and opponents alike have said a challenge in their home state wouldn’t be surprising.

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