On Jan. 12, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreider declared the same-sex marriage ban in South Dakota to be unconstitutional after six couples filed a lawsuit in May 2014 in Sioux Falls.
The lawsuit challenges a 1996 state law and a voter-approved 2006 constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage.
“The plaintiffs have a fundamental right to marry,” Schreider wrote in her ruling. “South Dakota law deprives them of that right solely because they are a same-sex couple and without sufficient jurisdiction.”
The ruling will hopefully lead us to a change that is absolutely necessary, especially in South Dakota — one of 14 states where gay marriage is still banned.
After decades of struggle against unfair and unequal laws that restrict the freedoms of American citizens, it is time we move forward and stop denying human beings their basic rights.
The idea that gay marriage is somehow a threat to the traditional idea of family is one that is not supported by facts, but rather a fundamentalist outlook on what is acceptable and what is not.
What is unacceptable is the idea that gay marriage or homosexuality is somehow immoral — an outlook that has negatively impacted the lives of others who do not hold those beliefs.
We cannot advocate freedom of speech and freedom of expression while at the same time restrict citizens from exercising their freedom in a manner that does not cause harm to themselves or others.
It is a great injustice that some Americans are denied rights everyone should be able to enjoy, regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
It reflects a great hypocrisy within American culture and politics in a nation that prides itself on being the “land of the free” — even though that is simply not the case for those who are part of the LGBTQ community.
Allowing gay couples to live with the same dignity and freedom as any other couple in America is not something that should still be up for debate – it is a matter of human rights and in no way threatens anyone’s religious liberty.
It’s time for the right choice to be made, and it’s time to make history that should have been made a long time ago.