North Dakota AG Seeks Dismissal of Gay Marriage Suit
The North Dakota Attorney General has asked a Federal judge to throw out a lawsuit that has been filed against the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, despite a trend in other State and Federal courts striking down similar bans.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, a motion was filed late Tuesday asking a Federal judge in Fargo to dismiss the suit, stating that states have the right to define and regulate marriage.
ND Solicitor General Doug Bahr wrote in his 50 page response to the lawsuit:
Nothing in the United States Constitution prevents the people of North Dakota from defining marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman
Same-sex marriage has been banned in North Dakota for the last 10 years after a constitutional amendment passed with an overwhelming 73% of the vote.
Similar cases have been overturning bans across the country. Most of them being filed after the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the federal "Defense of Marriage Act" early last year. 18 such cases have been successful on both a State and Federal level.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem states his office is duty bound to defend the ban, regardless of what trend is developing nationwide. In a statement to the Associated Press:
It is the constitutional duty of the attorney general to represent the state when it is sued. Only the Supreme Court can determine whether North Dakota's enactment is constitutional or not.
After the first lawsuit was filed, another was filed by a Fargo couple seeking recognition of their marriage, which was performed in Minnesota where it was legal.