Where do we stand … let’s see:
Last week, in an historic advance for marriage equality, and LGBT Rights, in South Carolina, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled that the state's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Still, he also held up his ruling until noon this Thursday to give Alan Wilson, South Carolina's
After Gergel’s ruling, Wilson filed notice that he plans to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and then asked the appellate justices to issue an emergency stay to halt same-sex marriages in South Carolina while the appeal is pending. Wilson believes that allowing same-sex marriages would cause "irreparable harm" to the state because we won’t have that right if the appellate court overturns Gergel's decision.
See, it would hurt South Carolina if The Gays could get married because the Fourth Circuit Court could overturn Gergel’s ruling making same-sex marriage still illegal even though the Fourth Circuit Court has already ruled that marriage bans are unconstitutional.
How does Alan Wilson not see that his circular argument has absolutely no merit?
He doesn’t, but the attorneys for Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon and her fiancée Nichols Bleckley, do see it, and have asked the Fourth circuit Court to reject Wilson's request and allow the weddings to begin on November 20th:
"Currently 34 states permit same-sex couples to marry, or recognize marriages legally celebrated by same-sex couples in other states. If history is any indicator, the State's claim of potential harm here is overstated, if not completely contrived."
Oh, it’s completely contrived, as is Wilson’s claim that South Carolina’s Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is like no other ban in any other state anywhere — including states where the bans have been overturned — and therefore should be allowed to let stand.
Malissa Burnette, lead attorney for Condon, feels very optimistic that the Fourth Circuit will uphold Gergel's ruling since it’s the same court that struck down Virginia's ban last month. And, as for Wilson’s argument that the State’s ban differs from all other bans, Burnette is quick to point out that it is nearly identical to the ban struck down in Virginia.
South Carolina is the only state covered by the 4th circuit still contesting same-sex marriages because, well, Alan Wilson. He is the only thing standing in the way of equality for gay and lesbian South Carolinians.
So, barring a higher court's intervention, the day after tomorrow gay couples across South Carolina will be able to march down to their local courthouses to apply for marriage licenses. It could be a great day, and a great sign that South Carolina is pulling its head out of the Dark Ages and joining the rest of the world in the 21st Century.
Funny Sidenote: the judge who ruled that South Carolina’s ban is unconstitutional, Richard Gergel, has previously received support from one Lindsey Graham, one of South Carolina’s biggest Same-Sex Marriage opponents. Graham, who has previously expressed support for a national constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, has yet to comment on Gergel’s ruling.
Still, it’s funny that our own ambiguously gay Senator, who says he isn’t gay and says marriage is one man and one woman, is a great supporter of the judge who ruled differently.
I imagine Miss Lindsey is clutching her pearls about now.