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WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 08, 2012, 10:22 PM

Fargo couple to challenge North Dakota's gay marriage law

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - After years of legal wrangling, the controversial law banning gay couples from marrying is about to be challenged in North Dakota. Two Fargo men will make history trying to become the state's first married gay couple.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

After years of legal wrangling, the controversial law banning gay couples from marrying is about to be challenged in North Dakota. Two Fargo men will make history trying to become the state's first married gay couple.

Thousands of happy couples come here to the Cass County Courthouse to get marriage licenses, but never before, two men. In fact, state leaders aren't aware of it happening anywhere in the entire state until now.

You can call Lenny Tweeden, a man on a modern day mission. He and Wayne Rosell, his fiancé of three years, are ready to fight a controversial law, making it illegal for them to marry.

Lenny Tweeden – Fargo: “It's time to look at that law again.”

Just two days after a federal appeals court overturned California's ban on same sex marriage, the two will try to spark change in North Dakota.

Lenny Tweeden: “It kind of pushed me to follow through on this.”

Wayne Rosell – Fargo: “Why now? I guess because what's happening in the rest of the country toward gay marriage and somebody's got to step forward for it.”

Tomorrow, they'll become the first gay couple to challenge the state law,

Wayne Rosell: “It takes a special person to walk forward and be the first one.”

They'll try to get a marriage license in Cass County.

Lenny Tweeden: “It would be one of my dreams.”

Wayne Rosell: “Because we're best friends and we support each other.”

But the proud pair knows that dream won't come true.

Wayne Rosell: “Well yes, yes of course, because it's law.”

North Dakota century code, 14-03 defines marriage as between a man and woman. There have been changes through the years, none, allowing gays to wed.

Lenny Tweeden: “You don't have certain rights that married people get.”

Tweeden believes his wedding day will eventually happen. Tomorrow may just mean the start of a long fight for equal rights, a possible lawsuit to repeal law.

Lenny Tweeden: “This is opening the door and where it goes from there, we will have to see.”

Tweeden helped start Pride Week and owned the city's first gay bar. The activist even ran for mayor and city commissioner.

The county treasurer tells us the couple, who has been together 27 years, will be turned away, citing that controversial law.

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