Marriage Equality Ruling in South Dakota

Written by scott on January 13th, 2015

South Dakota mapA Federal Judge struck down South Dakota’s marriage equality ban yesterday.

The Washington Blade reports:

In a 28-page decision, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier, a Clinton appointee, grants summary judgement to plaintiff same-sex couples in the case, saying the South Dakota’s marriage ban runs contrary to their rights to equal protection and due process under the U.S. Constitution. “In Loving, the Supreme Court addressed a traditionally accepted definition of marriage that prohibited Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving from marrying,” Schreier writes. “Because Virginia’s laws deprived that couple of their fundamental right to marriage, the Court struck down those laws. Little distinguishes this case from Loving. Plaintiffs have a fundamental right to marry. South Dakota law deprives them of that right solely because they are same-sex couples and without sufficient justification.”

Unfortunately, the judge stayed her own decision, so same sex couples in South Dakota will have to wait to get married.

Ari Ezra Waldman argues that there should have been no stay:

It no longer makes any sense, not after the Supreme Court refused to grant a stay in Florida pending appeal. As I argued previously, the Court’s refusal to extend the stay beyond January 5, 2015 was special because it was the first time the Court let stand a pro-marriage equality decision in a jurisdiction where the appellate court (11th Circuit, in this case) had not yet spoken. Everywhere else, in South Carolina, for example, or in Idaho, the Court let marriage equality go into effect because the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, respectively, had spoken.

South Dakota is in the Eighth Circuit, which has not had occasion to decide a marriage equality case in the post-Windsor world. Therefore, with respect to the stay, South Dakota is just like Florida: a state with a pro-equality federal district court decision that should not be stayed even though the superior circuit court has not yet spoken. It is a shame the stay was put into effect. The judge was probably just being cautious. But her caution extends the hours of discrimination and second-class citizenship for thousands of gay men and women.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Dakota.

 

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Michael says:

    Let’s hope the stay can be overturned in the coming days.

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