Seven couples are suing the state of North Dakota in federal court for the freedom to marry, arguing that their Fourteenth Amendment rights are being violated. Today, the official complaint was filed in the United States District Court, District Of North Dakota.
With today’s historic filing, every state in the nation that does not already extend marriage to same-sex couples now has at least one, and often several, lawsuits demanding marriage equality.
The lawsuit, filed just after 2:00 PM EDT, argues deprivation of equal protection, discrimination based on sexual orientation, discrimination based on sex, discrimination with respect to fundamental rights and liberty interests secured by the due process clause, deprivation of due process, and deprivation of fundamental right to travel.
Charging that “enforcement of the marriage bans impermissibly infringes on Plaintiffs’ choice of whom to marry and their ability to have their marriages recognized, interfering with a core, life-altering, and constitutionally protected choice,” the lawsuit argues the “right to marry the unique person of one’s choice and to direct the course of one’s life in this intimate realm without undue government restriction is one of the fundamental liberty interests protected for all by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The lawsuit also argues that the “State’s interest in the welfare of children parented by same-sex couples is as great as its interest in the welfare of any other children. The family security that comes from the State’s official recognition and support is no less important for same-sex parents and their children than it is for different-sex parents and their children.”
The plaintiffs are seven same-sex couples: Ron Ramsay and Peter Vandervort; Celeste and Amber Carlson Allebach; Brock Dahl and Austin Lang; Michele Harmon and Joy Haarstick; Bernie Erickson and David Hamilton; Matthew Lee Elmore and Beau Thomas Downey; and Stephanie and Siana Bock.
The 49-page lawsuit argues 160 points. It was filed by attorneys representing the plaintiffs, Joshua A. Newville of Madia Law of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Thomas D. Fiebiger, Esq. of Fargo, North Dakota. Newville is also representing plaintiffs in another same-sex marriage case in South Dakota.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.