South Dakota Governor William J. Janklow signed a bill Friday that says the state will only recognize marriage between a man and a woman. South Dakota became the second state to rewrite its marriage laws to deny lesbian and gay couples the right to marry, following a similar law enacted last year in Utah.
The South Dakota bill is in response to a lawsuit being brought in Hawaii by the ACLU that seems likely to lead to the legalization of same-sex marriages. Radical right groups at a recent Iowa rally vowed to pass anti-gay marriage legislation throughout the 50 states in a preemptive attack on the Hawaii lawsuit.
Director of the ACLU’s National Lesbian and Gay Rights Project Matthew Coles responded, “Marriage is a fundamental human right that every American should have the freedom to choose… Although many lesbian and gay couples have been together for decades, and share the same responsibilities that married couples share, they are treated as no more than strangers under the law.”