Tthe North Dakota Senate on Tuesday rejected [Journal of the Senate, PDF] a bill [SB 2043, PDF] to update the definition of marriage and recognize same-sex marital relationships. The bill woud have updated the language in several state laws to change “husband and wife” to “two individuals married to each other” and other similar changes. The bill failed to pass with a vote of 15-31. Proponents of the bill stated [Bismarck Tribune report] that the bill was necessary to avoid potential costly lawsuits later due to the current language not conforming to the recent U.S Supreme Court ruling that gave same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry. Opponents of the bill stated that the bill was not necessary. Senator Janne Myrdal stated “A ‘yes’ vote on Senate Bill 2043 will actually accomplish functionally nothing, though it will serve to diminish with official intent the honor and sacredness of what the human institution of marriage is described as in (the) North Dakota Constitution as it stands today.”
Same-sex marriage [JURIST feature] in the US has been an ongoing debate for many years. In December the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned [JURIST report] a lower court ruling that would have allowed married same-sex couples to get the names of both spouses on their child’s birth certificate. In October Alabama’s Chief Supreme Court Justice was suspended [JURIST report] for ordering state probate judges to ignore a federal court order requiring them to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples. In September the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed [JURIST report] a lower court’s dismissal of a claim by two former magistrates that their rights were violated by 2014 guidance memos from the Administrative Office of the Courts that said they could be fired if they refused to perform same-sex marriages.