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Challenge to North Dakota's gay marriage ban on hold until Supreme Court decision

FARGO - A federal judge has shelved a legal challenge of the gay marriage ban in North Dakota, awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision on similar cases in four other states.

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FARGO – A federal judge has shelved a legal challenge of the gay marriage ban in North Dakota, awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision on similar cases in four other states.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson issued an order Tuesday to stay the case filed in June by seven same-sex couples seeking to overturn North Dakota’s ban.

In a brief order Friday, the Supreme Court said it would hear cases concerning marriage restrictions in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. The much-anticipated ruling, due by the end of June, will determine whether the bans that remain in 14 states, including North Dakota, will be struck down.

The court said it will decide two questions: whether states must allow same-sex couples to marry and whether states must recognize same-sex marriages that take place out-of-state. The court will hear an extended 2½ hours of oral arguments in April.

Until Tuesday’s filing, the North Dakota case had been inactive since September when the two sides – attorneys for the seven couples and those for the state – filed their final arguments.

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