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S. Dakota: No License for Lesbian Wives

S. Dakota: No License for Lesbian Wives


Two Sioux Falls women are being denied drivers' licenses due to laws in South Dakota's prohibition on recognizing same-sex marriage, reports The women, Amy (left) and Ashley Stabe, were legally married in Iowa, but were refused licenses in their married names by the Department of Public Safety. They are petitioning the Minnehaha County court for name changes, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota.

The rejection arises from the 2006 voter-passed constitutional amendment that rejects recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions. Chris Hupke, executive director of the anti-equality group South Dakota Family Policy Council that pushed for the constitutional amendment in 2006, views a name change as a legitimization of a union rejected by voters. "Everyone did their job," Hupke said of the government's refusal to issue the requested licenses. "The system worked."

But equality advocated view the denial as an attempt to drive LGBT people from the state. "This is an emerging issue for states that have passed these constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage," said Robert Doody, executive director of the South Dakota ACLU. "They're being used to deny people really basic rights."

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