The U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection marches on. A federal judge in South Dakota has struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Can the Arkansas Supreme Court be far behind?
Don’t answer that question, not with the legislature in town.
As happened in Arkansas, the decision was stayed for an appeal. But the reasoning, from rejection of the “slippery slope” argument to failure of the state to prove a compelling state interest for the ban match closely the decision in Little Rock.
These words are worth remembering when the religionists in the legislature say there is also a compelling reason to allow legal discrimination against gay people in housing, employment and public accommodation.
In Loving, the Supreme Court addressed a traditionally accepted definition of marriage that prohibited Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving from marrying. Because Virginia’s laws deprived that couple of their fundamental right to marriage, the Court struck down those laws. Little distinguishes this case from Loving. Plaintiffs have a fundamental right to marry. South Dakota law deprives them of that right solely because they are same-sex couples and without sufficient justification.
Equality under the law is pretty fundamental without a compelling state reason to deny it.