Nancy Robrahn and Jennie Rosenkranz have been together for almost 30 years and are both aged over 65. This weekend they will travel from their home state, South Dakota, in order to get married in Minnesota, a state where same-sex marriage is permitted. They will then return to SD and demand that the government recognise their union.
According to the law firm hired by the couple, Robrahn, 68, and Rosenkranz, 72, will be married at Minneapolis’ Community of Christ Church by the city mayor. Their four children and six grandchildren will be present at the ceremony.
When they go back to South Dakota, the couple will begin litigation against the state government to repeal 2006 legislation banning same-sex marriage.
‘We are approaching the time when end of life decisions and plans need to be made,’ said Robrahn. ‘There are many federal protections that will become available to us through this Minnesota marriage. We hope to see the day when couples like us don’t have to travel out of South Dakota to marry.’
Robrahn and Rosenkranz are not the only gay couple pursuing a civil rights suit against the state of South Dakota. Their plaintiffs in this case are two other same-sex couples. There is hope amongst the LGBT community in the state that their legal action will lead to a broader amendment to the constitution of the state that will, once and for all, legalise and normalise same-sex marriage.
If such a law is passed, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota will be the only states in the Union not to either recognise same-sex marriages or to have an equality suit pending. According to the advocacy group Freedom to Marry, right across the USA there are 65 cases seeking marriage equality in over 30 states and territories.