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Appeals court sends lawsuit on Minnesota’s gay marriage ban back for more arguments

A lawsuit over Minnesota’s ban on same-sex marriage should not have been thrown out by a judge, the state Court of Appeals has ruled.

A lawsuit over Minnesota’s ban on same-sex marriage should not have been thrown out by a judge, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. The court sent the case back to the district court for further analysis of the constitutional issues.

Hennepin County District Judge Mary Dufresne had dismissed the 2010 lawsuit, filed on behalf of three same-sex couples who were unable to get marriage licenses in Hennepin County.

While affirming parts of the Dufresne’s decision, the appeals court sent the case back to the court to determine if the plaintiffs’ rights were violated.

The ruling said there should be exploration of whether the law violates equal protection, due process and freedom of association rights.

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The appeals court did affirm the part of the decision that said the law does not violate freedom of conscience rights, or the Single Subject Clause of the state Constitution because it was passed in a bill that contained other matters which were not “wholly unrelated matters,” the ruling said.

Supporters of the proposal — on the state ballot in November — to change the state Constitution to ban gay marriage quickly pointed to the appeals court ruling as a reason why they want the Constitution changed:

 “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.”