Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate the US Supreme Court ruling during a community rally on June 26, 2013
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty

North Dakota gay marriage ban challenged in federal court


North Dakota has officially joined the party.

Seven couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging North Dakota’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to unions between one man and one woman, the Associated Press reported Friday.

A U.S. district judge Friday evening struck down Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage.

Meanwhile, the Texas Republican Party is considering a platform that supports gay conversion therapy, according to The Huffington Post.

Less than a year after the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), setting off an unprecedented period of gains for the gay rights movement, there remains no barrier to same-sex nuptials untouched by litigation. North Dakota’s was the last of 31 remaining state bans in the nation to face a legal challenge.

The plaintiffs are suing both to marry in North Dakota, and to have their out-of-state marriages recognized. Seventy-three percent of voters approved North Dakota’s ban in 2004.

Prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying amounts to “an irreparable denial of their constitutional rights,” according to the lawsuit. Republican Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has yet to comment on how state officials will respond.

Since the DOMA ruling last year, which cleared the way for the U.S. government to begin recognizing same-sex marriages, federal judges in 14 states have overturned bans to such unions. Gay and lesbian couples can now legally wed in 19 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Public support for gay marriage continues to grow. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday found that half of Americans believe gay marriage is a constitutional right.