Federal judge Karen Schreier has ruled that South Dakota’s bans against gay marriage are unconstitutional.
The ruling came out Monday, Jan. 12. Included with the ruling is a stay, so couples won’t be able to marry until the case has been resolved at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals or at the United States Supreme Court.
Attorney Joshua Newville represents six South Dakota couples who brought suit against the state. The 12 people have been legally married in other states and sued to force South Dakota to recognize those unions as legal.
Newville says federal and state courts across the country have almost unanimously found state bans against same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Newville challenges South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley and Governor Dennis Daugaard to reconsider appealing Schreier’s ruling.
“The writing’s on the wall,” Newville says. “It’s their last opportunity to be on the right side of history on this one. If South Dakota wants to continue pouring money into defending these discriminatory laws, and if these elected officials want to be on this side of history, that’s their prerogative, their choice, but they are making that, and I think that this is their last opportunity to really correct it.”
Newville says his clients intend to challenge the stay.
Attorney General Marty Jackley says the state will appeal Schreier’s ruling. Two other states, Arkansas and Missouri, have already appealed to the Eighth Circuit.
The Sixth Circuit late last year upheld gay marriage bans in Ohio, causing a split in decisions made by circuit courts of appeals. That makes it more likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue.