19 States Request SCOTUS Ruling on Marriage

marriageFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 8, 2014
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announces that South Dakota has joined with 19 States in a request to the United States Supreme Court to determine whether the U.S. Constitution requires States to adopt and recognize same-sex marriage (17 plus Utah and Oklahoma).

“I have joined the bipartisan Attorneys General request to the U.S. Supreme Court as it offers the most realistic and cost effective approach to defending both our State Constitution and statutory law.  It remains the State’s position that the institution of marriage should be defined by the voters of South Dakota and not the federal courts,” said Jackley.

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In November 2006, South Dakota voters approved a constitutional amendment making marriage valid only between a man and a woman. South Dakota voters approved this amendment by a vote of 172,242 to 160,173. South Dakota Constitution Article XXI, Section 9 defines only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in South Dakota. In addition, our Legislature has enacted SDCL 25 1 1 defining marriage as a personal relation between man and a woman.


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There are an astounding 89 cases challenging traditional marriage laws in the 31 States that define marriage as the legal union of a man and a woman.

South Dakota’s constitutional amendment defining marriage was challenged in May of 2014 in
Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard, No. 14-cv-4081 (D. S.D.).  Both parties have filed dispositive motions that are pending before our federal District Court in Sioux Falls and appeals are anticipated once the decision is rendered.


The Attorneys General are requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to answer “whether the U.S. Constitution requires States to adopt and recognize same-sex marriage.”    In defending their respective States, the Attorneys General advocate that “The question presented in this petition goes to the heart of the States’ traditional role in regulating marriage.”  The Attorneys General are requesting the Court to answer this question through the Utah and Oklahoma cases that do not have the procedural defects created by Attorney General Eric Holder and the California state officials’ refusal to defend federal statutes and state constitutional amendments defining marriage that occurred in the previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions handed down in June of 2013.   The Attorneys General further point out that “these cases are divisive and costly, not only in terms of money and man power, but in terms of respect for the democratic process and deliberation undertaken by millions of voters where the nature of marriage has recently been debated.”  The Attorneys General have explained to the Court that “In the year since this Court decided United States v. Windsor every State with traditional marriage laws has come to exist under a legal cloud that is fast becoming a storm.”   Federal courts have found the laws of Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin to violate the 14th Amendment, while Louisiana and Nebraska have prevailed in federal District Court.

To view the brief, please go to: http://atg.sd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ZTH5Ft4h_NY%3d&tabid=442

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