No Marriage, Few Rights
Marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships are all illegal for same-sex couples in South Dakota. Fifty-two percent of voters chose to approve the measure in November of 2006. The South Dakota Constitution clearly states that the state does not “recognize any relationship, other than a union of a man and a woman.” The state also adopted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) so the result of the two pieces of legislation together means there are not legal union options for same-sex couples including getting married elsewhere because it will not be recognized. To make matters worse, there are no laws protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.
The constitution says:
“Marriage defined–Consent and solemnization required. Marriage is a personal relation, between a man and a woman, arising out of a civil contract to which the consent of parties capable of making it is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute a marriage; it must be followed by a solemnization.”
The absurd argument that gay marriage is a threat to “traditional” marriage is not new but it holds even less weight than usual in South Dakota. The Department of Health’s Vital Statistics Reports reveal that the number of marriages is decreasing while divorces increase in the state. Considering gay couples are barred from any form of legal relationship it would be hard to defend how they are threatening heterosexual marriage.
Finding coverage of gay rights issues in South Dakota is quite difficult but Equality North Dakota brings some news now that the legislative session is over. Three pieces of legislation pertaining to the LGBT community were introduced but only one passed. The two that failed would have addressed housing discrimination and the definition of domestic abuse. Bullying of LGBT youth has jumped to national attention over the last few years—especially 2011—so it is good news that “the anti-bullying bill that finally passed was SB 130. The bill requires all school districts that already have not done so to adopt an anti-bullying policy. Currently there are 12 school districts that still do not have a policy. The bill also stimulates [sic] what should be in the policy – cyber bullying is one of the provisions. The bill does not require identifying any protected classes of students.”
- Can same-sex couples marry in South Dakota? No.
- Are there any legal union options for same-sex couples in South Dakota? No.