Hennepin County asks Supreme Court to add state to same-sex marriage lawsuitby Sasha Aslanian, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A lawsuit brought by three same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses in Hennepin County may be headed to the Minnesota Supreme Court on a technical matter.
In 2010, three gay couples tried to obtain marriage licenses in Hennepin County. Registrar Jill Alverson turned them down, citing the state's Defense of Marriage Act, which bars same-sex couples from marrying.
Douglas Benson and Duane Gajewski, Jessica Dykhuis and Lindzi Campbell, and Thomas Trisko and John Rittman filed suit in Hennepin County Court, alleging that Alverson violated their due-process, equal-protection and freedom-of-association rights under the Minnesota Constitution.
In January, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss the state of Minnesota as a party to the lawsuit. Hennepin County is asking the Supreme Court to bring the state back into the case.
A spokesman for the Hennepin County Attorney's office said the county believes the state, through the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, is best suited to defend the state statute which prohibits same-sex couples from marrying.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have said this case demonstrates the need for Minnesotans to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
All three couples in the Benson case have since married in other jurisdictions.