South Dakota Attorney General Marty
Jackley has announced that his office will appeal a federal judge's
ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Karen E.
Schreier said in a 28-page ruling that gay and lesbian couples have a
right to marry in the state. Voters in 2006 approved a
constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual unions,
reinforcing a 1996 law.
“Plaintiffs have a fundamental right
to marry,” Schreier wrote. “South Dakota law deprives them of
that right solely because they are same-sex couples without
Schreier stayed her ruling.
In a statement posted to his state
website, Jackley, a Republican, said that the state's position
conflicted with the judge's ruling.
“It remains the State’s position
that the institution of marriage should be defined by the voters of
South Dakota and not the federal courts. Because this case presents
substantial legal questions and substantial public interest the
Federal Court has stayed its judgment allowing South Dakota law to
remain in effect pending the appeal,” he said.
Challenges to similar bans in Arkansas
and Missouri are pending before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals,
which also has jurisdiction over South Dakota and four other states.