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Will Court Ruling Guarantee Passage of Minn. Antigay Amendment?

Will Court Ruling Guarantee Passage of Minn. Antigay Amendment?

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An appeals court ruled on Monday that three same-sex couples suing for the right to marry in Minnesota have the right to a trial--a decision that complicates a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the state.

The state Court of Appeals ruling reverses an earlier decision by a Hennepin County judge that dismissed the couples' case. The appeals court says the Hennepin judge erred when citing for her dismissal a 1971 Minnesota supreme court decision against a male couple seeking a marriage license. That 42-year-old case related to the U.S. Constitution, while this more recent court challenge pertains to Minnesota's constitution.

While the decision of the appeals court sounds like good news, it has many gay rights advocates worried. Firstly, it's likely the case will reach the Minnesota Supreme Court, known as conservative. The judges also have the 1971 case to easily cite, should they be faced with the issue of marriage equality.

Secondly, a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state--going to voters in November--could get a shot in the arm thanks to the case. Especially, with conservatives already lining up to exploit it.

"[This is] exactly the type of case that's resulting in same-sex marriage being imposed in other states, and it completely highlights the need for a marriage amendment in Minnesota," Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota For Marriage, a coalition of groups against gay marriage, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The case heading to trial involves two male couples and a female couple who first sued the state two years ago for denying them marriage licenses. Read more here.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.