Lindsey Crumbly and Halley Page applied for a marriage license up in Greenville, South Carolina last week, hoping to have a mountain wedding, and so did another couple, Ronald and Jenny. Ronald and Jenny sailed through the paperwork and were told they could pick up their marriage license the next day; Lindsey and Page were denied because, well, gay.
In fact, five same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses last week and all five were denied; they’d all gone up on the heels of the Circuit Court of Appeals striking down of the ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia, hoping that South Carolina might have opened its eyes, and its mind, to the 21st century.
No such luck.
Still, Lindsey and Page are hopeful that by the time their wedding date comes around — in October 2015 — they can legally get married in the state in which they live. And all five couples are optimistic that the tide will change, even here in the Palmetto State.
Of course, there are some who don’t wish to see change, especially in the area of marriage equality. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson — almost the moment the decision from the Circuit Court of Appeals came down — announced that he would continue to defend Amendment One, the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage; and, also of course, The Transparent Nikki Haley™ said she supports Wilson’s decision to treat some South Carolina residents as less than.
The same day that Lindsey and Page, and those other couples, were being denied marriage licenses, S.C. Equality started a petition drive to encourage Attorney General Wilson to change his mind:
"Instead of spending money on our state's crumbling infrastructure or improving education and access to healthcare in our state, Attorney General Wilson plans to waste our tax dollars defending a ban that will ultimately be struck down." — Ryan Wilson, S.C. Equality executive director.
Right now, there are two marriage equality lawsuits pending in South Carolina; one is the case of a woman who wants to divorce the woman she considers her common law wife, and the other involve Katherine Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin, who are suing the state to have their marriage recognized.
According to the US Census, there are about 650 same-sex couples in Greenville County and over 7,000 in all of South Carolina; not a huge number in the grand scheme of things, but, in fact, that means that over 15,000 people in this state are not being treated equally under the law, and Lindsey and Page, those four other couples, and a great many more throughout the state, are fighting to see that change.
That day last week, in Greenville, as five same-sex couples tried, and failed, to obtain marriage licenses, a crowd of over a hundred people waited outside, cheering the bravery, cheering the determination, cheering the fight; cheering for equality.
Let’s hope that one day soon, they’ll be cheering at actual weddings.