WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 26, 2013, 08:35 PM

Rulings boost gay marriage in the Red River Valley

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Two steps forward for gay rights are hitting home here in the Valley.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Two steps forward for gay rights are hitting home here in the Valley.

Today, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark decisions, giving benefits to same sex couples, and allowing gay marriage to resume in California.

It's history in the making for marriage equality and human rights.

Anita: "we never expected to be alive to see this happen"

All over the country and here into the metro, Same sex couples like Anita Bender and her partner are celebrating.

"I get a text from my friend that says no more DOMA"

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

Lenny: "I see it as an accepting of the gay and lesbian lifestyle."

Bringing marriage for everyone, back to California and striking down the law that previously denied gay couples benefits..

Anita: "We plan our finances and we work together a lot to make sure we can take care of each other and this makes that more possible."

Now 13 states allow gay marriage. Minnesota just legalized it May of this year.

And Lenny Tweeden and his partner Wayne plan to cross the river and be first in line to say I do.

Lenny: "I've been with my partner for 28 years and I guess it's just something for me"

Even under the new federal rulings, Lenny tells me same sex couples in North Dakota who get married in a state where it's legal won't be eligible for benefits

Lenny: "I'm not very hopeful."

After talking with several family law experts across the state- it's still unclear exactly what North Dakotans will see, since the ruling applies to states where gay marriage is legal.

"Because North Dakota doesn't recognize the marriage"

But they say it will raise serious questions.. And possibly start a push for other laws.

Anita: "it's changing and we're watching it so that feels very good"

Lenny: "I never thought it would happen in my lifetime"

But for now he'll have to hold out to see what comes after I do.

Legal experts say it could take several days before the ruling is broken down to see exactly how it impacts states where same sex marriage is still illegal.