The Washington Post

There are just 4 unchallenged state gay marriage bans. Soon, there will be 3.

Shelton Stroman, right, and partner Christopher Inniss watch television with their son, Jonathan, 9, at their home in Snellville, Ga. The two are part of the group challenging Georgia’s same-sex marriage ban. (David Goldman/AP)

Last week, there were five state same-sex marriage bans that had yet to be challenged. On Tuesday, that number fell to four. Next week, it’s expected to drop to three.

Georgia’s ban is the latest to be challenged. Seven people filed suit against the state on Tuesday, asking a federal judge to toss out Georgia’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning such unions. That group includes a widowed woman fighting to have the marriage to her deceased spouse recognized and three couples: a pair of Atlanta police officers, co-owners of a pet day care, and a lawyer and real estate agent.

The suit was filed by Lambda Legal, a pro-gay-marriage group, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and argues that the ban violates equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment.

Before that challenge, there were 65 pending lawsuits involving marriage laws in 30 states, according to the group’s Thursday accounting of same-sex marriage ban challenges. The only other unchallenged bans were in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

South Dakota’s ban is expected to be challenged next week. That challenge will be brought by Nancy Robrahn and her partner Jen Rosenberg, who plan to wed in Minneapolis this week before immediately returning home to challenge their state’s ban by filing a name-change request. The pair hopes to challenge the ban by May 1 (next Thursday).

“We don’t want to postpone it any longer than that,” Robrahn says.

Gay marriage is now legal in 17 states, according to Lambda Legal.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.



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Niraj Chokshi · April 23, 2014

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