- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The latest South Dakota reaction over Supreme Court ruling that says gay couples nationwide may marry:

12:36 p.m.

County officials in western South Dakota have issued a marriage license to two women following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Pennington County Register of Deeds Donna Mayer says two women came to the office in Rapid City on Friday asking for a marriage license. Mayer says state officials in Pierre instructed her how to issue the license using the terms “Spouse A” and “Spouse B.”

It’s not clear if the women were the first in the state to obtain a license, bu Mayer says state officials called Pennington County the “guinea pigs” for issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

The state Department of Health announced later that the state has updated its electronic system to begin issuing gender-neutral licenses as of 1 p.m. Couples can request marriages licenses at any county register of deeds office in the state.


11:05 a.m.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says his office is treating the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as effective immediately, but says it’s up to county officials whether to issue licenses right away.

Jackley says some local officials may need time to implement it.

Each county’s register of deeds is responsible for issuing marriage licenses in South Dakota. Jackley says larger counties might need more time than smaller ones before they can begin issuing licenses.

Jackley says he believes South Dakota residents should define marriage and not the federal government. However, he says, the five Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of same-sex marriages “have now determined neither the states nor our citizens have the right or the ability to define marriage.”


10:45 a.m.

The Yankton County register of deeds says the office plans to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they apply for them as counties wait for more guidance from the state on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that gay couples can marry.

Brian Hunhoff said Friday that he hopes to get gender-neutral marriage license applications today, since the current ones list “bride” and “groom.” But if a same-sex couple comes in before those arrive Hunhoff says he intends to offer a license after requesting guidance from the state.

Hunhoff says he’s “going to do whatever (he) can to accommodate a couple that wants to get married today.”

He says no couples have asked yet.

Many counties are deferring to the governor and attorney general, who haven’t yet given clear guidance.


10:15 a.m.

County officials from across South Dakota say they’re waiting for direction from state officials before they begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Officials in Minnehaha, Pennington, Brown and Codington counties say they can’t issue licenses until they hear from the Department of Health, who overseas vital records like marriage certificates. Officials there are deferring to the governor and attorney general, who haven’t yet given clear guidance.

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex marriage should be legal nationwide, but the court gave the losing side about three weeks to ask for reconsideration. Some state officials and county clerks might decide there is little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kathy Lindemann is the chief deputy of the register of deeds in Brown County. She says once they hear from the state register of deeds, “we’re good to go.”


9:55 a.m.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard says South Dakota will comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex couples have the right to get married anywhere in the United States.

Daugaard said Friday that he and Attorney General Marty Jackley will examine what the court’s ruling means for state and local governments. Daugaard says he would have preferred legal same-sex marriage to come “through the democratic process, rather than the courts.”

Jackley says he’ll comment on the decision later Friday after having time to read it.

The South Dakota Department of Health, which is responsible for the vital records system currently used to issue marriage licenses, referred comment to the governor’s office.


9:50 a.m.

A Sioux Falls man says he got a second marriage proposal from his partner following the news that same-sex marriage is now legal in the U.S.

Bob Weldland, 27, says his partner texted him at work, asking if he would “marry me again.” Weldland says he learned of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion from his partner and that it still feels very surreal.

He says the move is a “step in the right direction” but says same-sex couples still have an uphill fight.

Weldland and his partner consider themselves married under God. They plan to get married by “government standards” this summer. They were united in a Minnesota ceremony in 2010 before gay marriage was legal in that state.


9:35 a.m.

Two plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging South Dakota’s gay marriage ban are celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex couples nationwide have the right to marry.

Lynn and Monica Serling-Swank of Brandon call the decision “unbelievable.” Monica Serling-Swank said: “We finally won.”

Gay couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The ruling means the remaining 14 states will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The ruling doesn’t take effect immediately because the court gave the losing side about three weeks to ask for reconsideration. But states may start to issue marriage licenses sooner.


9:30 a.m.

The attorney representing six same-sex couples in a lawsuit challenging South Dakota’s ban on gay marriage says he’s in disbelief over a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declares state’s must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Minneapolis attorney Josh Newville says the ruling by the court is a “powerful, powerful opinion.”

Newville says he doesn’t anticipate any delay for U.S. District Judge Karen Schrier’s opinion to go into effect.

Newville, who is gay, says he’s overwhelmed. He hasn’t talked to his plaintiffs but says he can’t describe how happy they must be.


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