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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Status of Same-Sex Marriage Case after United States Supreme Court Decision


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    Tuesday, October 7, 2014
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215   

Status of Same-Sex Marriage Case after United States Supreme Court Decision

PIERRE, S.D. – The United States Supreme Court has denied the appeal of seven same-sex marriage decisions from the Federal Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, which includes 19 bi partisan State Attorneys General requests for the Supreme Court to determine whether the U.S. Constitution requires States to adopt and recognize same-sex marriage.  The Supreme Court’s action means the decisions of those Courts of Appeal, which held that State prohibitions on same sex marriage were unconstitutional under federal law, are now final.  South Dakota is in the Eighth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals which previously ruled in 2006 that Nebraska’s definition of marriage between a man and a woman was constitutional; however, that Eighth Circuit decision is being challenged based upon recent Supreme Court precedent. 

“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.  This longstanding tradition and fundamental principle will now be tested in federal district court and likely the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Attorney General Jackley.

The South Dakota case Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard is currently before the South Dakota District Court on a motion to dismiss filed by the State.  A hearing on the motion to dismiss is expected to be scheduled in the near future.  The Dakota Territory law that marriage was authorized only between a male and a female was reaffirmed in November 2006 when a constitutional amendment was approved by South Dakota voters.  Because the United States Supreme Court failed to accept the appeals from other States, a decision regarding South Dakota’s regulation of marriage will be decided by our federal court, and, ultimately, by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.