Minnesota apellate court revives gay marriage lawsuitUPDATE: A lawsuit challenging the state's law against gay marriage was revived today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
By: Associated Press report, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — A lawsuit challenging the state's law against gay marriage was revived today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
A three-judge panel ruled that a Hennepin County district judge didn't sufficiently consider claims that the law violated 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.
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.
An attorney general's spokesman did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The case was considered by Judges Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks, Terri Stoneburner and Renee Worke.
Minnesota voters will decide in November whether to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.