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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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8th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Same-Sex Marriage Case
PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the United States District Court’s decision, which declared South Dakota state marriage laws unconstitutional in Rosenbrahn et al. v. Daugaard et al.

“Today’s ruling combined with State and Local authorities immediate compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s directive, would appear to end the need for further federal oversight. As clearly recognized by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, South Dakota’s assurances of compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court directive may impact the necessity of continued injunctive relief. Local and State authorities have treated the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage effective on the day of the decision and forty-nine same-sex marriage licenses have been issued peacefully and without incident,” stated Jackley.

In November 2006, South Dakota voters approved a State 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. In addition, the Legislature enacted SDCL 25-1-1 defining marriage as a personal relation between a man and a woman. Federal courts have now held our Constitution and statutes violate the U.S. Constitution.

South Dakota’s Constitutional provision and laws prohibiting same-sex marriage were held unconstitutional by the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota in Rosenbrahn et al. v. Daugaard et al. in January 2015. The District Court stayed the enforcement of its judgment pending the appeal. The Eighth Circuit previously deferred its ruling pending the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell.

On June 26, 2015, a divided United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell, et al. v. Hodges, et al., holding that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses between two people of the same-sex. The Court additionally held that states are required to recognize lawfully licensed out-of-state marriages between two people of the same sex.

Pursuant to SDCL 1-1A-1 South Dakota laws declared unconstitutional by a federal court are void. Further, enforcement of such laws is also prohibited under SDCL 1-1A-2.