Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Developments In Marriage Equality Cases: Louisiana and South Dakota

There were two developments yesterday in the array of cases challenging same-sex marriage bans.  The U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for direct review of a trial court decision in Robicheaux v. Devin, (Docket No. 14-596, cert. before judgment denied, Jan. 12, 2015) (Order List). The district court upheld Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban and the 5th Circuit last week heard oral arguments in the case. (See prior posting.)

Also yesterday in Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard, (D SD, Jan. 12, 2015), a federal district court held that  South Dakota's same-sex marriage ban violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.  However, the court stayed its injunction pending appeal to the 8th Circuit. Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlog reporting on the decision said:
Although most of Judge Schreier’s reasons for nullifying the South Dakota ban on Monday were familiar from other decisions, she was among the first to reject what has been a more recent claim by state officials: that is, that marriage is a domestic relations matter, and that federal courts have no jurisdiction over such matters.  There is such an exception, the Sioux Falls judge found, but that it does not go so far as to bar new constitutional claims against same-sex marriage bans.
Following the district court's decision, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley reacted in a press release, saying in part: "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."