If you love love, and if you love marriage, you might want to come to Mount Rushmore on September 6, 2015. Nancy and Jennie Robrahn—you know, those nice ladies who, along with five other loving, committed South Dakota couples, got the U.S. District Court of South Dakota to rule our state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional—are inviting everyone to save the date for a National Marriage Celebration. Official invitations will hit the mail chute the moment the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the same-sex marriage cases before it (hearing April 28, ruling likely end of June). The event may change if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex couples, but Justices Thomas and Scalia seem to think that outcome is unlikely. If the Court gets it right, the Robrahns tell me an officiant will be present at the Mount Rushmore event to marry new couples and reaffirm the vows of those who’ve already been at it, all beneath the solemn gaze of George, Thomas, Teddy and Abe. Wear white, wear red white and blue, definitely wear a smile.
South Dakota Tourism could send its dancing foam Rushmore mascots to join the celebration (oh! the marketing tie-ins! This event could bring huge dollars to the Hills!), but Marty Jackley, who also thinks marriage is cool and is welcome to join the National Marriage Celebration, has probably burned up the tax dollars that put those mascots on the bus. You see, Attorney General Jackley wasn’t happy about losing the Robrahn case in January. In his grouchiness, he made the highly unusual move of pushing for the notably conservative Eighth Circuit to expedite to May its hearing of South Dakota’s appeal even while the Supreme Court is set to hear and rule on cases that will supercede most of not all of the appellate-level ruling in Robrahn v. Daugaard.
Let’s put the situation another way: if our man Marty would have said, “Yeah, we’re appealing, but my hair’s not on fire,” he could have spared himself and his staff a trip to Omaha. He could have stayed in Pierre and focused on arresting Chad Haber and other real crooks. But did the AG choose to save the taxpayers and the loving litigants some travel money? Alas, no: AG Jackley apparently thinks its more important to tweak Nancy and Jennie one more time with mostly superfluous court action.
But the Attorney General has his obligations and aspirations. He’s using our tax dollars unwisely… but nobody’s perfect. Even (especially) imperfect folks like Marty are welcome at Mount Rushmore September 6 to tell the Founders, “Love my honey? Forever and ever? I do!”
Update 2015.04.05 17:08 CDT: The National Marriage Celebration has a nice Facebook page. They’re also inviting President Obama, who really should make this event his family-values trip to South Dakota.