Six couples filed a legal challenge in South Dakota on Thursday to the state’s ban on gay marriage. The federal lawsuit adds South Dakota to the list of now 30 states with pending challenges to the probation on gay marriage and leaves North Dakota as the only state in the country with an unchallenged ban on same-sex marriage. Elsewhere, the Associated Press reports, “in 19 states and the District of Columbia, gay couples already can wed, with Oregon and Pennsylvania becoming the latest to join the list this week when federal judges struck down their bans and officials decided not to appeal.
Here’s more from the AP on the lone legal holdout:
North Dakota voters in 2004 overwhelmingly passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, Thompson, North Dakota, Mayor Karyn Hippen became the first in the state to join a national coalition of mayors who support same-sex marriage. Although 73 percent of the voters favored the constitutional ban, Hippen said she believes there’s support in the state for the issue. Same-sex marriage advocates in both North Dakota and South Dakota said the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classes for matters such as housing and employment has discouraged couples from coming forward.