A much-anticipated lawsuit challenging North Dakota's same-sex marriage ban was filed on Friday, meaning that there are now no states in the union with unchallenged bans on same-sex marriage. Seven couples are challenging the state ban, along with its ban on recognizing legal, out-of-state same-sex marriages. North Dakota was one of several states to pass constitutional amendments by voter referendum in 2004 that limited or eliminated marriage rights for same-sex couples.
The Washington Post confirmed that the suit was imminent late in May. Given that a few challenges to state bans are already pending a decision from federal appeals courts, the North Dakota suit serves more of a symbolic purpose than anything else: it leaves no state ban unchallenged. The lawyer representing the North Dakota plaintiffs is Joshua Newville, who also recently filed suit on behalf of same-sex couples in South Dakota.
The complaint argues that "the state 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," and follows the lead of other challenges to state bans by asserting that North Dakota's amendment violates the Equal Protection clause in the U.S. Constitution.
Here's the full complaint:
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