A state Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the state’s Defense of Marriage Act barring same-sex marriages is constitutional.
But the ruling also said the lower court erred in not fully considering all of the original lawsuit’s constitutional arguments. The court ordered a fuller review of the lawsuit’s claim, on inquiry that could coincide with the heated campaign over an effort to further enshrine the same-sex marriage ban via a constitutional amendment before voters this fall.
In a 15-page-opinion (PDF) written by Judge Renee Worke, the Appeals Court agreed that the law does not violate two of the original lawsuit’s constitutionality arguments.
The Appeals Court said the same-sex marriage law does not violate the constitution’s single-statute provision, which says governs whether disparate topics can be covered under the same law. Since the DOMA statute was included in a human services bill, opponents had argued it violated that single-statute protocol.
The court also ruled that the law does not violate the constitution’s freedom-of-conscience rights. The ruling upheld the lower court’s ruling that because the law does not stop anyone from being married in a religious ceremony, it does not violate freedom-of-conscience rights.
But the Appeals Court also ruled that the lower court did not fully consider arguments that the law violates citizens’ constitutional rights to due process, freedom of association and equal protection. Those arguments were dismissed by the lower court citing a ruling that DOMA statutes do not violate the U.S. Constitution.
Because this lawsuit challenges the law under the state’s constitution, the Appeals Court ruled, those arguments deserve a further airing than they were given. The Appeals Court’s ruling order the lower court to reconsider these arguments, but did not discuss their merits.
It’s not yet clear when the issue might come up for consideration again in the lower court in Hennepin County.