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Marriage updates from Minnesota, Iowa and France

Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

By Jacob Combs

Last Friday, a Minnesota judge in Hennepin County heard motions in a case challenging that state’s so-called “mini-DOMA” law, which limits marriage to heterosexual couples.  The suit was originally filed in 2010 and also addressed the 1971 state Supreme Court decision in Baker v. Nelson, which upheld a Minnesota law prohibiting marriage for gay and lesbian couples.  Judge Mary Steenson Dufresne dismissed the lawsuit in March 2011, citing Baker, but her dismissal was later overturned by the Minnesota Court of Appeals this January, which cited Lawrence v. Texas and remanded the case back to the district court.  The Minnesota lawsuit comes as the state gears up for a ballot initiative in November that will ask voters whether or not to amend the Minnesota Constitution to prohibit marriage equality.

Also on Friday, France’s minister of justice, Christiane Taubira, announced that President Francois Hollande’s government will present a draft marriage equality law to the Council of ministers on October 24.  The text is not finished, and does not include a right to access for lesbian couples to artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, which Hollande had promised as a candidate.

In Iowa, a political action group is campaigning on behalf of David Wiggins, a state Supreme Court justice who voted in the unanimous decision establishing marriage equality in the state and is now up for a retention vote.  Three other justices who voted in the case were ousted in 2010 during their retention votes.  Justice Not Politics Action chairwoman Sally Pederson, a former lieutenant governor of Iowa, told the Des Moines Register, “There are Democrats and Republicans out there who support the courts and who understand that it’s important to keep politics out of the courts system.”

Finally, a new New York Times/CBS poll released late last week shows that 51 percent of respondents favor marriage equality, with 41 percent in opposition.  Those numbers are an improvement from another NYT/CBS poll in July, when the numbers were split 46-44 percent.  That means in just the span of two months, according to the poll, support for equal marriage rights has increased by five percent, while opposition has dropped by 4 percent.  In addition, the fact that support has pushed the 50 percent mark to become a majority, as opposed to a plurality, is a positive sign as well.


  • 1. Steve  |  September 17, 2012 at 8:41 am

    The French need to get a lawsuit ready about reproductive rights. The only reason that was denied previously was because it’s restricted to married couples. With the new law, the courts will have to have to side with the plaintiffs.

  • 2. F Young  |  September 17, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This New York Times/CBS poll published separate results for probable voters in the Nov 6 election, which are not as good: 48% legal, 44% not legal, 8% undecided. In practice, the undecideds seem to end up voting for not legal.

    However, national polls like this are not important, since marriage equality is on the ballot in only four states on Nov. 6. Those are the polls to watch.

  • 3. jason walter  |  September 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    <img src=""/>Nice progress they've got going in France! <img src=""/&gt;

  • 4. Steve  |  September 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    They need to get a lawsuit about reproductive rights ready. Until now the only reason that failed is because it's restricted to married couples (with a mind-boggling stupid and insulting ruling that said that gay and straight unmarried couples are discriminated against equally). Once the law is changed, the courts will have to side with the plaintiffs.

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