- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The latest North Dakota reaction to the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

A North Dakota county has issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Ward County Recorder Betty Braun says the county issued the license to two women at about 1 p.m. on Friday at its offices in Minot.

Braun says officials had to cross out “bride” and “groom” and insert the word “spouse” on the marriage forms.

It wasn’t clear if the Ward County couple, which Braun wouldn’t identify, was the first same-sex couple to get a North Dakota license. The state’s ban on gay marriage was the subject of a legal challenge before Friday’s sweeping high court ruling.

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12:45 p.m.

One of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged North Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriages says a Supreme Court ruling making gay marriage legal nationwide is a big step forward for gay rights.

Matt Elmore of Minot says the ruling by older justices shows that the issue isn’t a matter of age or generation but of morals.

The attorney for Elmore and his husband and six other same-sex couples in North Dakota is ecstatic about the ruling.

Josh Newville says he’s happy for his clients. And he says that as a gay man who went into the practice of law specifically because of the issue, he’s overwhelmed.

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12:25 p.m.

Same-sex couples in North Dakota planning to get a marriage license early next week won’t be able to right away Monday morning, because the online system will be down for routine maintenance until 10 a.m.

A Supreme Court ruling Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide has nullified a North Dakota ban.

There was no rush of couples to county courthouses Friday. Some in the same-sex community say that isn’t surprising, given that couples have had the option of going to neighboring Minnesota for a license.

North Dakota couples for the first few weeks also will have to use a form that says “bride” and “groom.” A state committee of marriage license officials will be working with the state Information Technology Department to change the form.

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11 a.m.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple says North Dakota will abide by the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Dalrymple issued a statement calling the ruling “a federal mandate” and said North Dakota would comply.

The ruling nullifies North Dakota’s nearly 11-year-old constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In 2004, 73 percent of voters in the state approved the amendment.

The state’s ban had been under fire, with two lawsuits challenging it in federal court.

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10:40 a.m.

A Fargo couple who rallied outside the Supreme Court in April in support of same-sex marriage says the court’s ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry anywhere in the country shows the nation continues to evolve socially.

Cindy Phillips and Jan Jorgensen were married in 2013 in Minnesota, where it was legal. North Dakota has had a constitutional ban on gay marriage since 2004.

Phillips says the acknowledgement that same-sex couples have the same marriage rights as anyone else under the Constitution is emotional.

Phillips says there will still be opponents to gay marriage, and she doesn’t expect the ruling to change that. But she says as more same-sex couples marry, more people will realize that they personally know same-sex couples, and that could change a lot of views.

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10:25 a.m.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the Supreme Court ruling that makes gay marriage legal nationwide appears to be the end of North Dakota’s ban on gay marriage, but it’s up to a federal judge to rule on outstanding lawsuits over the state ban.

At least one county official, in Cass County, has said she’s waiting for direction before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The high court set a roughly three-week period for the losing side to challenge its ruling, but some states that had banned gay marriage before Friday’s ruling are already issuing marriage licenses.

Nearly three-quarters of North Dakota voters approved the constitutional ban more than a decade ago.

Stenehjem says his duty to defend the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court overrides his duty to defend the state constitution.

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10 a.m.

North Dakota’s first openly gay lawmaker is welcoming the Supreme Court’s ruling that gay marriage must be allowed nationwide.

North Dakota is among states that have banned gay marriage. But Rep. Josh Boschee, a Democrat from Fargo, says he expects no pushback from the Legislature, which doesn’t meet until 2017 anyway.

Boschee says he doesn’t know of any couples rushing to courthouses to get marriage licenses. He says many gay couples have already married in Minnesota.

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9:50 a.m.

The treasurer in North Dakota’s most populous county says she’s prepared to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Cass County Treasurer Charlotte Sandvik says she’s looking for more direction on how to handle things after a Supreme Court ruling that gives same-sex couples the right to marry anywhere in the country. It doesn’t take effect immediately because the losing side can ask for reconsideration, but Sandvik says if a couple comes in, she’ll likely issue a license.

The ruling nullifies North Dakota’s nearly 11-year-old constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In 2004, 73 percent of voters in the state approved the amendment.

The marriage license form used by North Dakota counties includes the terms “bride” and “groom.” Sandvik says they’ll be changed.

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