Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Press Release

Marriage

South Dakota Federal Court Rules in Favor of Freedom to Marry for Same-Sex Couples

(Sioux Falls, SD, Jan. 12, 2015)—Today, a federal court ruled in favor of six same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in South Dakota. The court stayed its order pending appeal by South Dakota officials.

In a 28-page decision, U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier ruled that “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.”

The six plaintiff families are from across the state and include veterans, nurses, a stay-at-home mom, a truck driver, a couple who have been together 30 years, and couples with children and grandchildren. They are represented by Joshua Newville of the Minneapolis firm Madia Law LLC, Debra Voigt of Burd and Voigt Law Offices in Sioux Falls, SD, and Shannon Minter and Christopher F. Stoll of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Statementby NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Christopher F. Stoll:

“We are thrilled for our clients and for all same-sex couples in South Dakota, who have watched and waited as progress has been made in so many other states, and who can now see light at the end of the tunnel in their own state.  We are also grateful to Judge Shreier for writing such a detailed and powerful analysis and for affirming in such strong terms that same-sex couples have the same fundamental freedom to marry as others.  We hope this decision will hasten the day when the Supreme Court decides this issue for the country and ensures that all families are treated fairly and equally under the law.”

Read the order and learn more about the case.

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