Home > Rights, South Dakota > Same-sex couples are rightfully suing SD over right to marry

Same-sex couples are rightfully suing SD over right to marry

May 23, 2014

Gay-Love-Equal-LoveYesterday was a historic day in South Dakota. According to the Argus Leader there were six same-sex couples that filed a lawsuit against the state of South Dakota over its ban on same-sex marriage.

Nancy and Jennie Rosenbrahn and five other South Dakota couples filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court just before 5 p.m. Thursday that seeks recognition of same-sex marriage in South Dakota, their lawyer Joshua Newville said.

The five other couples involved in the lawsuit include: Jeremy Coller and Clay Schweitzer, Lynn and Monica Serling-Swank, Krystal Cosby and Kaitlynn Hoerner, Barbara and Ashley Wright, and Greg Kniffen and Mark Church.

Aside from Cosby and Hoerner, each couple involved in the lawsuit has been legally married outside of South Dakota.

This is the proper move for these same-sex activists. It is also the only logical outcome that can come from allowing government to control marriage.

An important concept in America the right for all citizens to be treated equally under the law. Political activists from all perspectives use this concept to advocate for their beliefs. As a libertarian I believe this means that any law created must apply to all citizens equally and special ‘classes’ of people would be unconstitutional. A more authoritarian person would believe this concept means the government has to use its power to create equal outcomes for all citizens. Ironically both viewpoints should theoretically see same-sex marriage in a similar manner: reserving the right to marry to one subset of the citizenry creates a special class and is therefore unconstitutional.

Many people, such as myself, believe marriage is a commitment between two people and see it as a deeply spiritual/religious experience. But spirituality and religion are not the domain of government. By allowing the government to become involved in marriage the country has decided marriage is a legal status, and not a religious experience/commitment. Anyone that sees marriage as a religious endeavor should be appalled that government has become involved. I would also say that for the marriage-equality movement. A year ago I posted that I wish the marriage-equality movement would take a more libertarian approach:

Having said that I wish the pro-marriage-equality movement would take a more libertarian approach: get government out of the marriage business! There is no reason within the limits of the Constitution for the government to regulate the personal relationships of citizens. Currently the marriage-equality movement is ASKING the government for the privilege to marry! Let me restate that “the marriage-equality movement is ASKING the government for the privilege to marry.” This is not how rights are supposed to work in the United States of America.

I still feel those words to be true. Had the marriage-equality activists chose to get government out of marriage I think marriage as a religious institution would have been all the better for it.

But, that is unrealistic and unlikely to ever happen. At the heart of the matter is the legal benefits that come with marriage. The legal benefits become apparent last summer when the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was found to be a violation of the US Constitution. At that time I noted that DOMA was passed, in part, to prevent people who were in a same-sex marriage or civil union from receiving federal benefits. Now those same-sex couples that are legally married by the State will be allowed access to the same federal benefits and welfare programs that other married citizens enjoy. That is the only part of the expansion of marriage I truly dislike: it will lead to an expansion of federal benefits and entitlements to more people. Yet as distasteful as I find the current entitlement policies in DC, I find it even more distasteful to outright arbitrarily classify citizens based upon the religious beliefs of some Americans. Perhaps this expansion of the entitlement state will now force social conservatives to get the government out of the business of marriage. I doubt it, but I can always hold out a little bit of hope.

For now I will watch the case with interest. I have no doubt SD Attorney General Marty Jackley will defend the case. Yet I cannot see any constitutional grounds for a Judge to side with Jackley. Instead I believe SD will make headlines when this lawsuit is done by being yet another state to rightfully overturn unconstitutional laws that create arbitrary classes of citizens.

PS. Not that it matters. But personally I don’t care one way or the other about same-sex couples getting married. What other people choose to do with their lives is no business of mine.

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  1. tara volesky
    May 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Everybody has different viewpoints of marriage. Your right Ken, government should stay out of it and let the churches decide if they want to allow same sex marriage.

  2. June 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    It goes without saying that condoms are also a must.
    The things that you eat can also impact your performance in mattress.
    These marriages do not last long, generally 6-twelve months,
    divorcing within a yr.

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