Marriage Remains Intact in South Dakota

marriageFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Wednesday, June 26, 2013
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215

PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that South Dakota’s definition of marriage, which is limited to a man and a woman, is still valid.

“After today’s U.S Supreme Court decisions, South Dakota constitution and legislative enactments defining marriage to be between a man and a woman remain in effect as a matter of law,” said Jackley. 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, SDCL 25-1-1 defines marriage as a personal relation between man and a woman.

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In the first decision the United States Supreme Court handed down this morning, the Court found that private parties lack standing to defend the constitutionality of a California law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. When California state officials refused to defend a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, private parties sought to enforce its constitutional amendment. The Court held that only state officials and not private parties have standing in federal court to defend the constitutionality of the law. Based upon South Dakota voters’ decision to define marriage as between a man and a woman in South Dakota, the State of South Dakota joined numerous states as Amicus Curie or Friend of the Court, defending the constitutionality of California’s definition of marriage.

In the second decision, the U.S Supreme Court recognized the each state’s responsibility for defining and regulating marriage. When United States Attorney General Eric Holder refused to defend or enforce a federal statute that defined marriage as excluding same sex partners, the House of Representatives stepped in to defend the federal statute. As to those states that define marriage to include same sex couples, the federal statute violated basic due process and equal protection principles. The federal statute did not recognize or accept 12 states’ and the District of Columbia’s definitions of marriage. The decision did not resolve challenges to state marriage definitions affecting same sex marriages. The opinion and its holding are confined to only same sex marriages made lawful under state law.

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  • thisoldspouse

    What I’d like clarification on is whether these “marriage” contrivances from other states are essentially exportable to every other state regarding federal recognition. In other words, if a same-sex couple “weds” in Massachusetts and then moves to South Dakota, do they still get the same benefits of a “married” couple from the federal government’s position, or do they have to remain a resident in a state that recognizes their “marriage” to be recognized as such by the feds?

    • Bob Ellis

      That’s precisely what DOMA cleared up…and what SCOTUS has now made a mess of.

      Contrary to what some liberal liars have been saying, DOMA didn’t do a darned thing to stop a state from counterfeiting marriage if it wanted to. It only (a) prevented one state forcing counterfeit marriage on another state by forcing that other state to recognize it’s counterfeit marriages, and (2) recognized for the purposes of federal law (i.e. on federal reservations, benefits for federal employees, etc) that marriage is recognized to be between a man and a woman only.

      It really does no more, no less. It still does the first, but only technically still does the second, because their Lordships at SCOTUS have now decided the taxpayers MUST be forced to extend benefits to homosexual couples whether they like it or not.

      And while the first one still stands, it has a bullseye painted on it (i.e. it’s only a matter of time) because of situations like the one Scalia posited here: