Appeals Court Revives Marriage Equality Lawsuit

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday revived a lawsuit challenging the state’s law against gay marriage, ordering a district judge to take another look at the case just months ahead of what’s expected to be a bitter fight over a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

A three-judge panel ruled that a Hennepin County district judge didn’t sufficiently consider claims in the lawsuit that the statute violates the plaintiffs’ due process, equal protection and freedom of association rights, and sent the case back to the district court for review.

The 2010 lawsuit challenged the Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1997, known as DOMA. The district judge’s ruling relied heavily on a 1971 Minnesota Supreme Court decision that said gay marriage was prohibited by state statute. But the appellate court said the district judge didn’t properly analyze the couples’ claims that their due process, equal protection and freedom of association rights were violated.

Douglas Benson, one of several plaintiffs, said he was delighted by the ruling. Benson had tried to get a marriage license in Hennepin County to wed his partner of 21 years.

“We look forward to winning our constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry in the state, and we’re going to keep at it for as long as it takes,” Benton said.

Voters will decide in November whether to amend the Minnesota Constitution to require that marriage only be between one man and one woman. Supporters of the amendment jumped on Monday’s ruling as evidence that the amendment was needed.

“The fact that three judges of our court of appeals concluded that there might not be even one reasonable basis for limiting marriage to one man and one woman should be a wake-up call to Minnesotans who believe that our marriage laws are safe,” Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference and vice chairman of the group Minnesota for Marriage, said in a statement.

“The only way for Minnesotans to ensure that an activist judge doesn’t decide to redefine marriage is to put our historic definition of marriage in our state constitution, beyond the reach of state judges and politicians.”

The appellate court upheld the district judge’s ruling that DOMA does not violate the single-subject provision of the Minnesota Constitution; that DOMA does not violate the plaintiffs’ freedom of religion; and that the state of Minnesota is not a proper party to the lawsuit.

The case was considered by Judges Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks, Terri Stoneburner and Renee Worke.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  • Real Talk

    So funny how the right seems to have this belief that there is some universal truth about “marriage” and what it is and is not. It is just some made up ceremony contrived by the church to further indoctorine their followers….so get off your high horse and stop pretending it is someone so special.

    In REAL LIFE it is a legal recognition by the government and whatever the two people make it. There is no universal sanctity of marriage, only the sanctity of indiviudal marriages where the two participates make it so. It is up the individuals who entered into the marriage to make it consistent with their own believes….not yours. Is leaving your two wifes when they get a serious medical diagnosis keeping with the “sanctity” of marriage? Or how about broadcasting your 72 day marriage on the E-channel…is that keeping it sanctimonious? Why the hell is the difference with 2 gays getting married?

    • Ace

      I like your way of thinking. You’ve got it right.

  • tom

    All people are equal under the U.S constitution. Why are we having this debate.

    • jimmy

      Tell that to the same gender couples who can’t marry, and to their children who don’t enjoy the 1049 rights and privileges that marriage brings.

      We are equal if we are hetero. Otherwise, we are second class.

    • Tom

      @ tom

      Because you have this group called the Religious Right who can’t let it go. And they tell their followers unless we stop these people from getting married our marriages will suffer.

    • Tom


      Because we have this group called the Religious Right who think they should have the right to stop certain people from getting married. They got their followers believing that unless we stop gay people from getting married our marriages will suffer which is total BS.

    • Bill Clintons Cigar

      Really tom? Go spew that bs to those living in N Mpls….I would think they have different thoughts than you…..Or how about those living in PIne Ridge, SD…..I do believe they too dont feel your whole “equal” thing either.

      • jackactionhero

        What is this comment even supposed to mean? People in N Minneapolis aren’t protected by the Constitution? What?

  • tom

    You seem pretty angry. I know that people are not yet equal. Maybe we should change some laws and mostly the hearts and minds and let evry one have equality.

  • shina

    I want to marry my dog so she could get FREE healthcare insurance and food stamps.

    • Tom


      You must be a conservatives because everytime this issue brought up conservatives always seem to bring animals into the discussion.

      • Bill Clintons Cigar

        “You must be a conservatives “….say your a brain skurgen arent you?

    • Kevin

      Your spot on Shina! When is enough….enough…..when does the liberal train stop? Gay marriage….then what? Man and Dod? Then what Man and kids… jackmeoff said….we are all equal under the constitution……..

      • Real Talk

        Kevin…its a made up ritual anyways. The church invented it…so you guys can make it anything you want. 1 man + 1 woman = marriage. That is just fine. No one is forcing you to change or even challenge your views. You can sit back and laugh at the absurb nature of gay marriages and revel in the fact they are a “fraud” and the gays are going to hell. That is just fine too.

        But when you try to turn your religous convictions into law….thats where the buck stops my friend. Or as you say..enough is enough. No one here is bound to follow the strict definition of marriage that you and your church practice. Thats between you and the church.

        As far as the government is concerened….a marriage is whatever the law says it is. There is no universal truths handbook where you can look up the “real” definition of marriage. Its all fairy-tale make-believe BS anyways.

        Keep your beliefs and your church’s view of marriage…fine. But you cannot use your religious views to agrue points of law. Next thing you know…you and that crazy sect you belong to are going to lobby to revive Witch Trials. Same level of thinking my friend.

      • Tom

        @ kevin

        If you want to marry your animal go for it!

      • V

        Please Kevin, tell me you know the following

        Human kind vs Animal kind

        And that we have to be 18 to be legal adults and make our own decisions… including marriage

        • V

          And conservatives are so ******** out of touch and reality… so tell you what… problem solve, no marriage at all, period, not for straight people, not for gay people and problem solve… would you agree to that? as a matter of fact let’s put it for a vote… and let the people decide that

        • Real Talk

          How about you are concluding that a certain policital viewpoint equates to intelligence. Pretty grandious of you dont you think? Because they dont agree with you or your thinking…they are “stupid”.

          Let me let you in on a little secret Kevin. Your perspective…is just that YOURs. And it is partial. So while it must be nice to be the smartest man in every room you enter….use that “intelligence” you boast about and figure out the odds of that actually being true. LOL.

          Have you had this God complex your whole life….or just as an adult?

        • travis

          are conservatives embarrassed to have people in their party referring to gay men and women as dogs and child molesters? Are they embarrassed of all the self righteousness in their party? I don’t think they are… and that is sad.

      • Matt

        Why do these idiots like Kevin always compare same sex marriage with child molesters

        • max

          Um, because they are idiots.

      • Father

        Hey Kevin it stops here, they just want the same rights. Is that too hard for your simple mind to comprehend?

        • max

          The “man and dog” argument is completely ridiculous. If that’s the best you’ve got, my advice is to actually think before you post again.

    • Diane Fritz

      I want same-sex couples to marry so that churches can no longer have a tax-exempt status. Therefore, making it difficult to help the needy. Let’s look at what happened in Boston.

      • max

        How do you arrive at the conclusion that legalizing gay marriage would cause churches to lose tax exempt status? Sorry, it doesn’t compute. Legalizing gay marriage is a civil issue and has no impact on the churches.

    • V

      of course, it never fails, the one with no brains that thinks that the DOG can agree to a marriage… but like I will always say, you can fight IGNORANCE….. but hey Shina, if you want to marry your dog, then go ahead, you will have to fight your own battle and if that is what you need to be happy or at least pursuit of happiness, then go right ahead, you know why? CAUSE IT DOES NOT AFFECT ME OR THE WAY I CHOOSE TO LIVE MY LIFE

    • travis

      shina. loving a dog is way different than loving another human. I’ve been with my partner for 8 years… it has nothing to do with healthcare or foodstamps.

    • max

      Shina, I have to say your comment really indicates a complete and total lack of understanding of the issue.

  • Donald

    I think many people seem to be uncomfortable with gay folks having sex so why don’t they want them to get married? if they get married they will have much less sex and be as miserable as the rest of us.

  • Gaylord

    Most people think that just because two men have sex with each other, they should not be entitled to government financial benefits. It’s about money.

    I’m guessing gays want to push this through before voters have their say on the amendment to the state constitution.

    • jackactionhero

      Should gay sex be illegal?

      Maybe just being gay should be punishable by prison time?

      Is it wrong to be gay, and we should be doing something about it?

      At least be clear and honest with what you are really suggesting.

      • Gaylord


        Why don’t you re-read my post. Then find an adult and have them explain it to you and why your response doesn’t make any sense.

        • jackactionhero


          Why don’t you re-read my post and answer the questions or just admit you can’t.

          It’s not that difficult.

  • Brett

    This is exactly why a Constitutional Amendment is NEEDED.

  • Father

    I have two kids, one is straight and one is gay. I love my kids unconditionally. I was sad when I found out one was gay and not because I think anythings is wrong with that. I was just thinking that they have a tough road ahead with all the ignorant bigots out in the world, hey it’s tough enough growing up let alone being ostracized by a bunch of self appointed clowns. I want both of my kids to be happy and have the same rights, so does that make me a bad father wanting a full happy life for my children?

    • jackactionhero

      It would only make you a bad father if you thought only your straight child deserved a full happy life.

      In other words, there are a lot of republicans who are horrendous parents. Suprise, surprise.

    • Free Thinker

      Well said Father! I commend your actions/comments because a lot of parents would not act the way you do. My friend came out to his parents almost a decade ago and they are still ‘praying for him’ instead of accepting this is how he was born and how he feels. It’s a shame there are so many hateful people in this world and IMO, it all starts with Religion. You don’t have religion and we wouldn’t be having this discussion; I would almost guarentee it. I will be out fighting the amendment this election cycle. I wonder how far the bigots on this comment section will go this year. Knowing them, they will sit at home getting all their hatred from Faux News and then log onto WCCO to recant the hatred without having a thought for themselves.

  • Rocket Scientist

    So, when the voters deny this amendment, can we return next year and get an amendment allowing gay marriage so future activist judges don’t rule it is illegal?

  • Jaylen Watkins

    Gay marriages destroys the society. Can’t we understand this simple fact.

    • max

      Jaylen, what evidence to you have to support your asinine statement? Has Canada been destroyed? Or, the other countries where same sex marriage is legal?

      The “sanctity of marriage,” it seems to me, is at much greater risk from say, three times married serial adulterers, the like of Kim Kardashian, etc.

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