While marriage equality is racing across the nation, it is inching toward the Dakotas.

South Dakota
*South Dakota’s PFLAG groups organized a candidate forum with federal candidates last week. No Republicans showed up, according to KSFY:

One question on many of their minds: where do the candidates stand on topics concerning the LGBT, Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender, community? Members of a nationally-known organization, PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), held a local meeting to find out just that, Sunday at the Spirit of Peace Church on South Cliff Avenue. They invited candidates for U.S. Senate and South Dakota Governor to share their stance on related issues and legislation.
The non-partisan group invited all candidates for Senate and Governor to the event. U.S. Senate Candidates Independent Larry Pressler and Democrat Rick Weiland were there as well as South Dakota Governor candidate, Democrat Susan Wismer and her running mate Suzy Blake. They were each given five minutes to discuss their stance on LGBT-related topics, i.e. same-sex marriage, and also took questions from the audience.

*South Dakota same-sex couples are waiting anxiously for a case in that state to be resolved. A judge heard the first arguments in the case on Friday.

*Wisconsin officials have confirmed that same-sex marriages performed in June — when they were briefly legal — will be recognized by the state. The state benefits agency announced it had opened benefits for same-sex couples who marry.

*A Wisconsin couple has been behind the scenes at the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The couple has been blogging about their experience and they explained how a proposed resolution that seemed to be LGBT-friendly really wasn’t.

North Dakota
*Mike Rauser, writing for the University of North Dakota’s Dakota Student newspaper, argues in favor of marriage equality in that state: “It’s odd to see people fighting so hard to ruin other people’s happiness. Make no mistake that is what is happening here.”

*North Dakota businesses won’t see as much money as other states if marriage equality is made the law of the land (about $1.2 million in its first year), according to Prairie Business Magazine:

“The reason the impact is lower in North Dakota than other states is primarily because there are fewer same-sex couples there,” said Christy Mallory, one of the study’s authors…

“The economic impact can’t be dismissed, and I would think certainly that retail and other business that supply wedding services would be chomping at the bit to have more clients available,” said Concordia professor David Hamilton, who is one of the parties challenging North Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban.

*Iowa State University hosted its first ever LGBT alumni event, according to the Iowa State Daily:

“We think it’s really important that the LGBT alumni know that there’s still a community here at Iowa State and that there’s a way to give back to the LGBT community,” Adam Guenther, senior in animal science and president of the LGBT Ally Alliance, told the paper. “Or current students so they can see people who have gone on, led lives and had jobs, whether they’re open or not.”

*Anti-LGBT groups embarked on a bus tour of the state last week led by the Family Leader, the state’s largest anti-LGBT group. Also a part of the tour was the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council.

“I think the country is waking up to the leadership that has been going on in Washington and the left’s agenda. I think this election is going to be a complete repudiation of these anti-family policies,” The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats told the Des Moines Register.

*Iowa Public Radio is bringing transgender visibility to Iowa. The organization did a profile on what it is like to be transgender in the state.

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