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Gay Marriage Laws in South Dakota

South Dakota

South Dakota has legally banned gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships. In November of 2006, the measure passed by a public vote of fifty two percent. Article XXI clearly states that South Dakota shall not legally recognize any relationship, other than a union of a man and a woman.

In addition, the state had also adopted the Defense of Marriage Act. Combined, the act and amendment explicitly deny any legal rights or recognition of any other relationship besides marriage. In South Dakota, marriage laws could not be any clearer in denying rights to the LGBT community. In addition, South Dakota law on marriage only recognize out of state marriages between an opposite sex couple.

In South Dakota, gay couples have no entitlement to any rights or responsibilities afforded to married couples. In fact, same sex relationships can not be recognized in any form in South Dakota. Marriage laws prevent same sex couples from any entitlement to property without a will. In this case, a couple that has lived together would have difficulty in retaining the property as a whole, should one person pass away.

For instance, if the Deed or Lease to a property is in one partners name and that partner passed away, the other partner has no legal entitlement to that property. In addition to not being able to own property jointly, same sex couples have no ability to make health care decisions for their partners. The same sample partner that lost property after the death of a partner,would have been unable to visit that partner in the ICU because they are not related. In essence, the inability to have a relationship legally recognized, prevents access to many basic rights for same sex couples.

In addition, South Dakota has no laws to protect members of the LGBT community from discrimination. However, larger private employers tend to have their own regulations regarding such discrimination and many forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Many studies suggest that openly gay employees, suffer harassment, as well as a decrease in pay do to public perception. In South Dakota, gay couples live without rights that are equal to other portions of the population.

In South Dakota, gay couples are unable to expect legal recognition of their relationship. In addition, discrimination and hate crime laws are seriously lacking in South Dakota.Marriage laws prevent same sex couples from obtaining even basic rights as they pertain to their relationship. In addition, when those individuals do suffer from discrimination, they have no legal recourse. In South Dakota, gay rights need more consideration by lawmakers and by the general public.

In South Dakota, marriage's definition should be reconsidered to include unions between same sex couples. Allowing civil unions or domestic partnerships, would be the first step to obtaining equal rights for the LGBT community. In South Dakota, gay rights must first be applied to the most basic circumstances. In this way, laws can change to protect all citizens and their rights, equally.

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