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Same Sex Couple From Rapid City Filing Federal Lawsuit Against South Dakota

April 27, 2014, 9:55 PM by Leland Steva

Same Sex Couple From Rapid City Filing Federal Lawsuit Against South Dakota

Saturday is a day that Nancy and Jennie Rosenbrahn will never forget, as they were finally able to say "I do" after nearly three decades together. They crossed state lines to get married at the Community of Christ Church in Minneapolis.

"We recognized that is was important for us because of the federal protections that we get. We didn't need to tell you that we are a couple. 27 years if that doesn't do it, nothing is going to," Nancy Rosenbrahn said.

The honeymoon period for the newlyweds will not be spent on vacation, but in a courtroom. The couple is preparing to challenge same-sex laws in South Dakota. The Director of the Black Hills Center for Equality David Patton recently moved to South Dakota. He helped fight for same-sex marriages in Minnesota and asked the Rosenbrahn's to help change marriage equality in the Rushmore State.

"We're here to pick a fight. We're going to be filing a marriage lawsuit in federal court, asking that all people be allowed to marry in the State of South Dakota," David Patton said.

"We are kind of like the boots on the ground. We're going to make the legislature aware we are there," Rosenbrahn said.

South Dakota legislation passed in 1996 banned same-sex marriages in the state. In 2006, state voters passed a constitutional amendment that says only a marriage between a man and a woman.

The Rosenbrahn's weren't able to find a lawyer in South Dakota to help with the case, so they found Josh Newville from Minnesota.

The couple was denied a marriage license in South Dakota, which their lawyer says gives them a right legally to challenge the ban.

"They had to cross state lines, enter a new time zone, and drive 609 miles in order for a state to confer on them the dignity and the respect that is deserved by all people under the law," Lawyer Josh Newville said.

Newville says there are two other South Dakota couples planning on joining the lawsuit, which will be filed in the next few weeks.

Patton hopes that with this couple standing up for what they think is right; the state will finally see some changes that he says are long overdue.

"There are no protections for LGBT people whatsoever. There's no marriage. There's never been a real fight for marriage, a real possibility that people were going to be treated the same in South Dakota as straight people," Patton said.

The couple never expected to get married, but they say they're going to do the best they can to make sure other South Dakota couples can expect to walk down the aisle.

"We're ready, we're ready," Rosenbrahn said.

South Dakota would be the 29th state with a court-case on marriage equality.

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