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The legalization of gay marriage in North Dakota is approaching

December 30, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
What's the difference between Utah's constitutional ban against gay marriage and North Dakota's? Nothing, and that very likely means gay marriage will be legal in this state far sooner than most people expect.

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Utah's ban on gay marriage violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Last week, the 10th Circuit Court in Denver turned down Utah's request for an emergency stay that would have put a halt to gay marriage in that state. Utah now plans to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Utah's constitutional amendment, passed in 2004, reads: "Marriage consists of the legal union between a man and a woman. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect." North Dakota's constitutional amendment, passed by voters the same year, is identical to Utah's.

The Supreme Court has already ruled last summer that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Under that ruling, gay couples who live in states where gay marriage is legal are entitled to receive federal benefits. The Utah case ought to give the Supremes a chance to finish the job and make gay marriage legal across the whole of the United States.

Perhaps legislators will decide to be sensible and pass uniform marriage laws so that anyone who is married in one state is also married in another. That should apply equally to first cousin couples, gay couples and couples of varying ages.

Gay marriage is now legal in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, New York, Washington, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, and Utah. It is illegal in other states.


Article Comments



Dec-31-13 12:36 PM

And another what if? A lesbian falls in love with a person who had sex reassignment surgery from male to a female, the lesbian in some aspects is no longer a lesbian because she is with a man who was surgically changed into a woman. Wild wild world we live in!!


Dec-31-13 12:31 PM

There are a significant number of gay couples who do indeed raise children. They either adopt children or one of them bears or arranges for the birth of a child with the help of a sperm donor or an egg donor/surrogate. In states where gay marriage is legal, the married spouse of the biological parent is also a legal parent to the child and is on the birth certificate. This is already being done and thousands of these families exist, including in North Dakota. Legal marriage provides more stability for the children in those families and encourages greater fidelity and stability by the married gay spouses. They are also more likely to buy homes, pay property taxes, volunteer in the community, have health insurance, etc.


Dec-31-13 12:24 PM

Not very long ago all states had a law against same sex marriage too, so laws are inconsequential when it comes to gays. How many gay marriages are meant to solidify a home capable of bearing and raising children.


Dec-31-13 12:07 PM

Not likely, since all states have a bar against incestuous marriage. But three unrelated friends forming a corporate marriage for tax purposes? Maybe so.


Dec-31-13 11:59 AM

Do you suppose we will see fathers marrying sons so they can pass the family jewels without being taxed for gains. It sounds goofy enough to be part of this. I think they should get married if they want but one of them is going to have to assume the female gender on her ID and SS. This way existing law can be used to resolve conflicts of interest between the gay folks.


Dec-31-13 11:46 AM

A few years back one of the states, I believe Louisiana, introduced "covenant marriage," with an agreement between bride and groom that it would be harder to dissolve. I think they agreed there would be no "no fault divorce" if the couple split up. Dissolving the marriage would take adultery or domestic violence or a felony conviction on the part of one of the spouses. And how many couples already sign prenuptial agreements before marriage? Distinctive, enforceable contracts are already part of marriage law in the United States. If gay marriage becomes legal everywhere, there's really nothing to prevent more heterosexual couples from entering into covenant marriages and advertising them as such to distinguish their marriages from gay marriage. I would actually expect more states to pass "covenant marriage" laws in the coming years in response to gay marriage rather than doing away with government involvement in marriage. New legal frontiers.


Dec-31-13 11:23 AM

Matt, enjoyed your comments re monolithic politics, which is all that some wish to engage in.


Dec-31-13 11:20 AM

While thinking of all the various problems resulting from poly marriages dissolving, I have to agree with Matt, that gov't should just get out of the marriage business, which includes cooperating with clergy in the issuing of marriage licenses. Make everything civil.

If all that's really wanted is tax bennies, then civil agreements/contracts should suffice. No need to even use the word "marriage" or "matrimony" as the words have been bandied about so much as to have lost all their former relevance, if they had any.

In the eyes of the law for those taxing purposes/bennies/survivorship, call anyone "getting together" a civil agreement/contract, and relegate "marriage" and "matrimony" to the dust bine of archaic words already.

This is "Today's Cynic" now signing off...


Dec-31-13 10:51 AM

The legalization of polygamous or polyamorous relationships would be a tax and family court nightmare, which is one of the reasons I have my doubts they will be legalized. From a civil rights and religious freedom standpoint, I think they would be as valid as gay marriage. Think of how much fun the lawyers will have with the whole question. Who gets custody or visitation rights if a polygamous couple splits up and two or three "sister wives" have actively raised a child and been called Mommy? Will the sister wives have to pay child support? If three people can be legally married, why not four or five or six? If a corporation is considered a person for purposes of political speech, why can't a four-person polyamorous relationship be a corporate marriage? Should a polygamist's many wives be eligible for immigration from a foreign country? Think of all the new branches of family law and tax code ...


Dec-31-13 10:50 AM

All you want is to deal with me--and others too--as part of some monolithic, interchangeable label. Why? Is it too difficult for you to deal with me as an individual?


Dec-31-13 10:49 AM


Dec-31-13 10:48 AM

"It's apparent you do not know your party philosophy on the subject"

And would you care elaborate on your attempts to pigeonhole me into some neat, tidy, pre-packaged box that can be conveniently consumed by your lack of intellectual depth?


Dec-31-13 10:41 AM

The guy in Leith was allegedly stupid enough to threaten the townsfolk while he was carrying a gun. I think the writing was on the wall as soon as he started raising a ruckus. But that's beside the point of this blog. You can think gays and couples who live together outside of marriage are doomed to eternal hellfire, but the law isn't supposed to take sides on the matter. A civil marriage is different from a church marriage. If anyone starts forcing churches to marry gays or polygamists against their teachings, I'll be screaming as loud as the rest of you about the violation of religious freedoms.


Dec-31-13 10:06 AM

I'm thinking at this point in time where many people live together instead of marriage the gay marriage stuff must be about taxes and write offs. It used to be immoral for a man and woman to live together unmarried now we have eroded to this.


Dec-31-13 10:02 AM

Leith was mentioned, from what the papers say that guy was put in jail with a real high bond so they can tear his house down while he is in jail.


Dec-31-13 9:34 AM

"The Government could get out of the marriage business but there is this little problem called republicans. "

Actually, it's a little problem called the IRS, not Republicans, you hyperpartisan philistine.


Dec-31-13 9:32 AM

"What will be interesting to see if whether there is also a push to legalize polygamy. I think that will be a tougher sell"

A tougher sell, yes, but I think the sell will be made. It will take a generation or so, but the sale will be made.

"Gays are bound for eternal damnation"

Does struggling with any particular sin necessarily mean someone is bound for eternal damnation?


Dec-31-13 8:06 AM

I was Happy to see alot of publicity on the Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty comments.

I think the fact it opened up all the Bible versus and actually layed them out in Newspaper articles and all over the media.. helped many people to realize that Gays are bound for eternal damnation.. I think Phils comments made alot of people feel better about NOT backing the Gay movement.. Phils right on.. next comes Poligomy and then beasteality..

Our countries Morals are at their lowest point ever.. Sexual encounters use to be its like going to the grocery store just another days doldrums.. When its fre and common people want differant..

Watch for the beast to show up in the next 20 years..


Dec-31-13 1:26 AM

Oh, come on. That's more than a little on the hysterical side. People can disagree with gay marriage without being like the nut job in Leith.


Dec-30-13 6:26 PM

I predict. I also predict it will be legal within the next two to three years. What will be interesting to see if whether there is also a push to legalize polygamy. I think that will be a tougher sell.

Matt, I highly doubt the government will ever get out of the marriage business.


Dec-30-13 4:49 PM

The legalization of gay marriage in North Dakota is approaching

Andrea, you wish.


Dec-30-13 2:31 PM

"Perhaps legislators will decide to be sensible and pass uniform marriage laws so that anyone who is married in one state is also married in another"

"Sensible"? "SENSIBLE"?!?!

Maybe government should just get the "H" out of the institution of marriage completely. That would truly be sensible.


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