UPDATE: State responds to same-sex marriage ruling

Posted By: Jenn Schanz
jschanz@klkntv.com

“What better way to start off the week,” says Jason Cadek.

Him and his husband Nick Kramer are one of seven Nebraska couples celebrating a victory; one step closer to being able to legally marry in this state.

Monday, a federal judge struck down a ban on same–sex marriage that was passed in 2000; at the time, 70 percent of Nebraskans voted in favor of the ban.

“When the state did pass a discriminatory defense of marriage amendment almost 14–15 years ago, the country and the state was in a very different place,” says Danielle Conrad, Director of the Nebraska ACLU.

The nonprofit is representing the seven couples, who filed a lawsuit back in November to have the ban overturned.

“This is a day for celebration. This is a day where love won,” Conrad says.

Shortly after the judge struck down the ban, the state fired back with an appeal.

The Attorney General and the governor agree; this issue was already decided once by voters.

“Those who want to challenge that belief, that it should be defined differently, according to our constitution the most appropriate method to do that is through the voting process,” says Attorney General Doug Peterson.

“That’s the way we addressed this in 2000. We passed a Constitutional Amendment. It’s the law of our state and that’s what we’re going to uphold,” says Gov. Pete Ricketts. 

The judge’s lift on the ban won’t take effect until next Monday, March 9th.

Meanwhile, the state hopes the 8th Circuit will grant them a stay, and postpone the federal judges’ decision to allow same sex marriages in Nebraska.

Keep in mind, the U.S. Supreme Court is also taking up the issue; it’s ruling is expected in June.

When it comes to the state’s appeal, the seven couples and ACLU are ready to play ball.

“In the long run what’s right is right, and it will prevail in the long run,” Kramer says. 

So who’s affected?

According to research done through UCLA Law School, there’s more than 2,000 same sex couples living together in Nebraska.

20 percent of them are raising families together.

Almost 1,000 children in Nebraska have same –sex parents.

So could that 70 percent against marriage equality be outdated?

Ricketts says from his experience speaking with Nebraskans, no.

And until another vote is taken, he says it doesn’t matter.

“The only number that count are the ones that actually happened when we vote,” says the Governor. 

Channel 8 Eyewitness News asked our viewers how they feel about same-sex marriage. So far, 60 percent are in favor, 40 percent are opposed.