North Dakota's Attorney General, Wayne Stenehjem, expressed an opinion on 12 December that a man who is married to a man in a state which permits such relationships is free to marry a woman in North Dakota without violating any state laws.
The situation arises, of course, because ND does not recognize gay marriages. Because the gay marriage is not recognized legally, the partners are not committing bigamy by obtaining a concomitant straight marriage in ND. Moreover, because ND will not grant a divorce to gay married partners, the state provides no legal mechanism for terminating a same-sex marriage obtained elsewhere and freeing the partners to pursue other relationships.
Stenehjem issued the opinion in response to a real inquiry. In September, a man giving only his first name called Burleigh County Recorder Debbie Kroshus and asked if he could marry a woman there even if he was married to a man in another state. Kroshus did not attempt to identify the man or determine if he really held a legal (gay) marriage certificate from another state. Nor does she have any way of knowing if the man has applied for a marriage license in her county. She referred the question on to attorney general Stenehjem, however, who issued his opinion on 12 December.
This is getting complicated!