In the wake of the recent SCOTUS ruling on marriage, the inevitable conflict over religious liberty is heating up quickly. It is gratifying to know, as the lines are drawn, that South Dakota has an Attorney General who is not just watching our back, but out in front where the real action is.
As evidence to this fact, please read the following recent press releases from the AG’s office:
Attorney General Jackley Joins Other Attorneys General to Protect Religious Freedom
PIERRE – Attorney General Marty Jackley and 14 other State Attorneys General announced today they have sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take steps to protect the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organizations. During oral arguments in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. was asked if religious-affiliated institutions could have their tax-exempt status revoked if they opposed same-sex marriage, Verrilli said “it’s certainly going to be an issue.”
“The newly recognized federal constitutional right to same- sex marriage must and can peaceably coexist with other longstanding constitutional rights of freedom of religion and speech. There is no need to infringe upon either individual or religious freedoms in carrying out the directive of the U.S. Supreme Court. As Attorney General I will work to both ensure common sense solutions and vigorously protect the right to freedom of religion,” said Jackley.
The letter states that by stripping tax-exempt status from religious organizations in this way- a severe consequence that could force groups to exit the public square- would be an unprecedented assertion of governmental power over religious exercise. The letter asks Congress to modify the Internal Revenue Code to prevent the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organization that disagrees with the decision in Obergefell.
Those signing on to the letter were Attorneys General from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Attorney General Jackley’s Response to ACLU on Same-Sex Marriage
PIERRE – “It is disappointing to learn that the ACLU, who in their own words, works to “defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country”, is now choosing to place certain Constitutional Rights ahead of others.
As South Dakota’s Attorney General, I do not have the luxury of ignoring the long-established law requiring Constitutional Rights to coexist or overlooking federal requirements calling for reasonable accommodations to protect the Constitutional Rights of all individuals.
As Attorney General, it is not my intent to ignore established law and sue a county or arrest a county employee for exercising the well-established Constitution Right to the Freedom of Religion given that same-sex couples have been and are receiving marriage licenses in South Dakota. Rather than accepting the ACLU’s position, I support commonsense solutions protecting everyone’s Constitutional Rights in South Dakota which ensure same-sex couples continue receiving marriage licenses as now required by law,” said Attorney General Jackley.