- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2015

South Dakota’s laws against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier stayed her ruling, pending an appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Plaintiffs have a fundamental right to marry. South Dakota law deprives them of that right solely because they are same-sex couples and without sufficient justification,” she wrote, echoing dozens of other federal rulings in recent years.

All the same-sex plaintiffs, including Jennie and Nancy Rosenbrahn of Rapid City, S.D., have already married in other states, according to Associated Press.

Attorney General Marty J. Jackley said Monday that the state’s position has not changed, and “the institution of marriage should be defined by the voters of South Dakota and not the federal courts.”

“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,” Mr. Jackley said.

The 8th Circuit Court is likely to have gay marriage or marriage-related lawsuits from Arkansas, North Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, as well as South Dakota.

The 8th Circuit was the first to affirm a man-woman marriage law in a 2006 ruling in a Nebraska case, Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning.

The relevance of that 2006 ruling in the current gay marriage cases is debated.

Separately, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a gay marriage case from Louisiana, in which the judge ruled against the gay plaintiffs and upheld Louisiana’s man-woman marriage law.

That Louisiana case was heard Friday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which also held oral arguments on gay marriage cases from Texas and Mississippi.

However, in their Friday conference, the Supreme Court is slated to consider gay marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In those cases, the gay plaintiffs are asking for a review of a divided 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in November that upheld man-woman marriage laws in all four states.

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