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Center For Equality Lending Support To Same-Sex Couples

April 28, 2014, 6:05 PM by Leland Steva

Center For Equality Lending Support To Same-Sex Couples

A recently married same-sex couple from Rapid City plans to take legal action to have their Minnesota wedding recognized by their home state, and the couple isn't alone in the fight.

Thomas Christiansen, Vice-President for the Center of Equality in Sioux Falls, says he's heard that other couples across the state might be joining the three couples who already planning to file the lawsuit in the next few weeks. Christiansen says the center will do whatever it can to help the couples he considers brave.

Nancy and Jennie Rosenbrahn said the "I Do" heard around the state of South Dakota.

"Quite nerve racking to be the public face of this, but I think it's pretty incredible what they're doing," Christiansen said.

The couple has been together for 27 years, and they said it was surreal to finally exchange vows. Christiansen feels the couple is filing this federal lawsuit so other couples can have that same feeling.

"They've been together themselves their whole lives and enjoyed their relationship with each other, but they want to be able to make a difference for others," Christiansen said.

The center plans to launch Twitter and Facebook campaigns to help the couples with their legal proceedings. This won't be a ballot issue, so Christensen says the goal of the campaign isn't to raise votes, but awareness on what the same-sex couples are doing.

"I don't think a lot of people know that this is even going on. So it's getting out and showing support at this point," Christensen said.

State legislation passed in 1996 banned same-sex marriages in South Dakota. Christensen says he knows it will be an uphill battle to get that law changed, but he believes the Rosenbrahns are leading the way.

"I think South Dakota is ready for something like this. South Dakota on the surface seems like a big red state, but underneath there's a lot of support for LGBT," Christensen said.

In 2006, state voters voted to add an amendment to the State Constitution stating that marriage in South Dakota was legal only between a man and a women. We contacted several groups today who are likely to oppose the couples' lawsuit, but no one returned our call.

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