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North Dakota moves to dismiss challenge to same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] The office of the North Dakota Attorney General [official website] on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss [PDF] a challenge to the state's constitutional amendment [PDF] limiting marriage to a union between one man and one woman. Seven couples challenged [JURIST report] the law in June, alleging that it violates the equal protection, due process and right-to-travel clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. In his motion to dismiss, North Dakota Solicitor General Doug Bahr argues [Guardian report] that nothing in the US Constitution prevents North Dakota from limiting the definition of marriage to a union between one man and one woman, and that federal case law supports a state's right not to recognize an out-of-state marriage that would be illegal by North Dakota's laws. North Dakota was the last remaining state that had not had its same-sex marriage ban challenged.

This motion comes in spite of a string of rulings across the US that have struck down many states' same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] bans, after the US Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text]. Earlier this month, a federal judge struck down [JURIST report] Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In June a federal judge struck down Indiana's same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report]. Also in June Winsconsin's same-sex marriage ban was struck down, and Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage was struck down [JURIST reports] in May. That ruling came after a similar ruling striking down [JURIST report] Oregon's same-sex marriage ban the day before.

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