- Associated Press - Friday, June 16, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Nearly 300 marriage licenses have been given to same-sex couples in South Dakota since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the unions two years ago.

The Sioux Falls Pride festival will take place Saturday, which falls about a week before the anniversary of the groundbreaking court decision.

As of Tuesday, five licenses had been issued this month to same-sex couples in the state, the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/2sGyZIw ) reported.

Ashley Joubert-Gaddis with the Center for Equality said she’s excited that hundreds of people in the state have embraced the rights granted to them by the court.

“I think that number sounds big,” she said. “We’re a small community.”

The busiest month for same-sex marriage licenses issued in South Dakota is the month after the law changed, in July 2015. Licenses continue to be issued, with the number spiking last year in August.

“It was such a foreign idea for us to get married,” said Nancy Rosenbrahn, 71, of her relationship with her wife. “As their (LGBT-identifying people) friends get married and they become accustomed to the idea, I think we’re going to see that number grow.”

The South Dakota Constitution still includes a ban on same-sex marriage, but that language became legally moot following the June 2015 ruling. Rosenbrahn had sued the state for the right to marry her wife before the ruling.

She said that even though the state Constitution’s language on same-sex marriage is moot, it still remains as a symbol of the South Dakota’s unwillingness to change.

“The big battle is full equality,” Rosenbrahn said. “Until we have full equality there are so many slights.”


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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