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Same-sex couple’s divorce case could test Nebraska’s gay marriage ban

Friday, March 28, 2014
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LINCOLN, Neb. — A lesbian couple who married in Iowa in 2009 is now petitioning the Nebraska Supreme Court to be allowed to divorce in a case that could test the constitutionality of Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Nebraska-flagIn August, Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy ruled that the marriage between Margie and Bonnie Nichols could not be terminated because the state didn’t recognize it in the first place, reports the Lincoln Journal Star.

“A finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken — by its very nature — cannot be made without recognizing the marriage itself, and it stretches logic and common sense to conclude otherwise,” Stacy wrote in her order.

The case currently is before the state Court of Appeals, but Bonnie Nichols’ attorney has appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

ACLU of Nebraska and Legal Aid of Nebraska on Thursday weighed in, filing friend of the court briefs in support of the appeal.

The ACLU asserts that denying the Nichols’ the right to a divorce infringes upon their constitutional right to due process and equal protection.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning’s office filed a brief asking that Stacy’s ruling be upheld.

Bruning’s office argued the constitutionality of Nebraska’s same-sex marriage law shouldn’t be considered and said divorce isn’t a right.

The court could rule narrowly and dissolve the marriage in question, or they could rule more broadly with a greater potential impact on marriage in the state.

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