Around the Region: North Dakotans cross the border for equality


North Dakotans are marrying in Minnesota, Iowa drops its harsh HIV criminalization laws, and Wisconsin businesses prepare to marry same-sex couples.

North Dakota

The Associated Press reports that more North Dakota same-sex couples have married in Clay County, Minnesota than Minnesotans suggesting that Minnesota’s marriage equality law is having an impact on North Dakota couples. 40 of the 68 same-sex marriage licenses issued in Clay County were by North Dakota couples and another five involved couples where at least one was a resident of North Dakota.

Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill into law last week that changes Iowa’s HIV criminalization statutes. “After 5 long years of fighting to change Iowa’s law, those of us living in Iowa with HIV and AIDS can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” Tami Haught, Community Organizer with CHAIN, said according to MSNBC.

Iowa’s influential religious right leader, Bob Vander Plaats, lashed out against marriage equality by bringing up slavery.

“We actually stand for what God has designed because, just like with slavery, the truth is on our side,” he said. “We can win this battle.”

Businesses in the Wisconsin Dells are preparing to host same-sex weddings in anticipation that a federal court will strike down the state’s ban on gay marriage, according to WISC.

The Wisconsin Dells wedding chapel Dells Bells is already preparing for the possible legalization.
Dells Bells owners are expecting a surge of same-sex marriage ceremonies if the judge approves the measure, and they are working with florists, bakers and an additional minister to be ready.
“They’re eager to do it, so there is that, and then there is the fear of it not sticking. So those people will try to get in there and get marriage licenses and get it done as quickly as possible,” Dells Bells owner Tara Joles said.

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