S.D. couple to file federal lawsuit challenging state’s gay marriage ban

S.D. couple to file federal lawsuit challenging state’s gay marriage ban

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A lesbian couple from South Dakota will marry in Minneapolis this weekend before returning home to file a lawsuit challenging their home state’s ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of lawful same-sex unions performed elsewhere.

Jennie Rosenkranz, left, and Nancy Robrahn
Jennie Rosenkranz, left, and Nancy Robrahn South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will welcome officiate the marriage between Rapid City residents Nancy Robrahn, 68, and Jennie Rosenkranz, 72, on Saturday. The couple has been together for 27 years, and have four children and six grandchildren.

“We already consider ourselves married; this is a rededication of that marriage,” said Robrahn.

Upon returning home, the pair will join two other South Dakota couples and, together, will file a federal class action civil rights lawsuit seeking to overturn South Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban and to require the state to recognize marriages performed out of state.

“We are approaching the time when end of life decisions and plans need to be made. There are many federal protections that will become available to us through this Minnesota marriage. We hope to see the day when couples like us don’t have to travel out of South Dakota to marry,” said Robrahn.

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Attorney Joshua Newville of Minneapolis-based Madia Law LLC represents all three couples.

“These couples show that love and commitment exist in South Dakota just as they exist in Minnesota and beyond. South Dakota has failed to treat all of its citizens with the dignity and respect deserved by all people. With the filing of this lawsuit, we will lead South Dakota down a better path,” said Newville.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says he’s required by law to defend the constitution and state laws, which he will do if a lawsuit is filed.

The South Dakota lawsuit will leave only three states remaining — Alaska, Montana and North Dakota — where marriage bans have yet to be challenged in court.

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