By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com May 25 2014 6:49 PM ET
North Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriage, the last standing ban not facing a legal challenge, will be the subject of a lawsuit soon — and meanwhile, the mayor of a small town has become the first in the state to join a national marriage equality coalition.
“There will be a case filed challenging North Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban,” Minneapolis attorney Joshua Newville told The Washington Post this weekend. Newville, who is handling a marriage equality suit on behalf of couples in South Dakota, “is in talks with advocates and attorneys in North Dakota and confirmed that either he or another attorney will bring a lawsuit against that state’s ban within six to eight weeks,” the Post reports.
The South Dakota suit was filed Thursday, the day after a similar one was filed in Montana, two states that had been without marriage equality litigation until then.
While North Dakota’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed with support from seven of 10 voters in 2004, much has changed in the past 10 years, some state residents say.
“I think at the heart of North Dakota, there’s more of a general consensus of equality and fairness,” Karyn Hippen, mayor of Thompson, a town with fewer than 1,000 people, told the Associated Press. Hippen, the mother of a gay son, last week became the first North Dakota mayor to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, and she is the 400th member of the national coalition overall.