There’s plenty out there about the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling and I can’t really add anything that probably hasn’t already been said, just an observation from looking at the State News Page in my RSS reader this morning.
One of the first things posted on that site was Gov. Daugaard’s statement on the decision. I found it interesting. It said, “I would have preferred for this change to come through the democratic process, rather than the courts. We are a nation of laws, and the state will follow the law. I will be working with the Attorney General to ascertain what this ruling means for state and local governments.”
My thought on the first sentence is that we should consider how we got to this. Citizens elected legislators, legislators passed laws, citizens exercised their right of access to the courts, the courts issued a ruling. Seems to sum up a significant part of “the democratic process.” As for the last sentence, the item on the site immediately prior to the governor’s statement was a release from the Attorney General’s Office in which AG Marty Jackley said, “Because we are a Nation of laws the State will be required to follow the Court’s order that every State must recognize and license same-sex marriage.” Seems to me, then, that there wasn’t much work to be done to “ascertain what this ruling means”.
Fortunately, (although apparently coming after announcements of the approval of $23.7 million for water and waste projects and the GF&P finding “rusty crayfish” in the Missouri), the site contained this headline: South Dakota Prepared To Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses. Basically, the Department of Health’s system was ready to issue those licenses by 1 p.m. yesterday and the licenses could be obtained at any county register of deeds office. Looks like someone in state government was thinking ahead.
Granted, at least as of this posting, the more partisan announcements are prominently featured on the news page while the significant one is a bit buried below. But at least the state moved far more rapidly than I would have thought, without creating any delay or roadblocks. Reality can be a dose of fresh air.
Indeed, changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations, often through perspectives that begin in pleas or protests and then are considered in the political sphere and the judicial process.
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)