Sunday, January 18, 2015

189.2 - Good News: same-sex marriage comes to South Dakota

Good News: same-sex marriage comes to South Dakota

Next up, another one bites the dust: On Monday, January 12,  federal District Court Judge Karen Schreier ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in the state of South Dakota is unconstitutional.

She wrote that the plaintiffs in the case "have a fundamental right to marry," a right that the state was denying them "solely because they are same-sex couples and without sufficient justification."

Six couples were plaintiffs in the case; one couple wants to get married in South Dakota, while the other five want South Dakota to recognize their marriages, which took place in other states. The decision, as is common, is stayed pending a possible appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

South Dakota state Attorney General Marty Jackley says he’s obligated to defend the state law, which raises something else worth noting: Increasingly, when states undertake these appeals, they're not doing it on the basis of "this is an important law, necessary to uphold the sanctity of marriage, the people have spoken," and so on, but on the basis of "We are obliged to defend the law." Which I also think is a sign of progress.

The last time the 8th Circuit ruled on same-sex marriage, it upheld a ban in Nebraska - but that was in 2006 and hell of a lot has changed in the meantime.

At the time I'm doing this, there are five petitions from states before the Supreme Court about same-sex marriage. The court has not taken announced it is taking up any of them, but that could have changed by the time you see this and the court is expected to take up at least one of them this session.

Update: Since this was done, the Court has announced it will take up related cases this session. More on that in the next show.

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