In the interest of national security, South Dakota has taken the bold step of preventing people from knowing when their grandparents got married. They took this step to satisfy requirements of a federal law that hasn't yet gone into effect, and that makes no mention of marriage records.
"There will be nothing involved with marriages," Charlie Rothwell, director of the federal Division of Vital Statistics, said of federal law changes. "For the most part, this will be involved with birth certificates."The state's new vital records law, passed last year, "makes no specific mention of indexes," which is why the state registar banned access to indexes. The law also makes no specific mention of bathrooms at the South Dakota State Archives, but it's unclear whether registrar Kathlene Mueller wants to ban access to those as well.
Health Department officials have decided to allow only card-carrying members of the state's newspaper association and the South Dakota Genealogical Society to get non-certified informational copies of vital records. But journalists are turning up their noses at the notion of backdoor access, for the reason set forth by Cindy Eikamp—editor of the Aberdeen American News and unrepentant genealogist.
Eikamp, an amateur genealogist and at one time a member of the state society, said she would not rejoin just to get records.
"We're part of the public," she said. "And if the general public does not have access to something, I don't think the press should work special deals to have access." [Link]