Appeals Court Ruling Allowing Lawsuit Seeking to Impose Same-Sex Marriage

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January 23, 2012                                                       (612) 275-9141

Appeals Court Ruling Allowing Lawsuit Seeking to Impose Same-Sex Marriage Highlights Need for Marriage Protection Amendment
“Marriage goes on trial in Hennepin County.” – Jason Adkins

Minneapolis, MN – The Minnesota Court of Appeals today ruled that three same-sex couples may continue their case in Hennepin County seeking to invalidate Minnesota’s definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and impose same-sex marriage on the State. The Court ruled that a trial-court dismissal of the case was improper and that the same-sex couples can proceed to challenge the constitutionality of Minnesota’s longstanding definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

“This is exactly the type of case that has resulted in same-sex marriage being imposed in other states and highlights the need to enact the Marriage Protection Amendment next November,” said Jason Adkins, Executive Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference and vice chairman of Minnesota for Marriage. “Marriage will now go on trial in Hennepin County and Minnesota citizens will be at the mercy of a judge to maintain our centuries-long definition of marriage.”

Ruling in the case of Benson vs. Alverson, the Court of Appeals decreed that three same-sex couples who had sued the state seeking to marry could present the merits of their argument to the trial court. The trial judge had previously dismissed the case on the grounds that a 1971 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling (Baker v Nelson) found that defining marriage as only between one man and one woman is not unconstitutional.  Adkins participated in the Benson case as counsel to amicus curiae Minnesota Catholic Conference, Greater Minnesota Association of Evangelicals and Chabad Lubavitch—Upper Midwest Merkos.

“The court surprisingly concluded that there was a possibility that Minnesota law did not have a reasonable basis for limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman,” Adkins continued. “Even some opponents of traditional marriage admit that there are at least rational justifications for it.”

The rational-basis test is an incredibly low legal standard to meet and many cases challenging statutes are dismissed because it is plain that there is some legitimate basis for the law.

“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.  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,” said Adkins.

“Without the Marriage Protection Amendment, marriage will always be just one court ruling away from being redefined. Every day we’re vulnerable to lawsuits seeking to change marriage by transforming it into a system of love licenses, or eliminating it altogether.  We urge Minnesotans to support the amendment to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

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