It was almost a month ago that the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban; and it’s been just a few weeks since other states in that court’s jurisdiction have complied with the ruling, with both West Virginia and North Carolina deciding to let equality stand.
But one state refuses to budge and, well, any guesses which one it is? If you said South Carolina, order some grits and take a seat, you win.
Here’s what’s happening in South Carolina, where it’s not the heat it’s the stupidity.
In Columbia Federal Court, we are awaiting movement on the case of Bradacs v Nikki Haley and Alan Wilson, et al. This is the case for which The Will of the People Fund — on which Carlos and I are board members — was created.
The case is simple: South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Katherine Bradacs and her wife, US Air Force retiree Tracie Goodwin-Bradacs want South Carolina to recognize their legal marriage that was performed in Washington DC back in 2012.
Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a filing last month that the couple is suing the wrong people in the wrong court. He argued marriage is an issue for the state courts and that he and Governor Haley, the named defendants, lack the enforcement power over the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
But in a response this week, Carrie Warner and John Nichols, attorneys for the Bradacs, renewed their request that Judge Michelle Childs rule in their favor without a trial. They argued that federal suits are allowed against state officers who enforce unconstitutional laws and since the governor and attorney general are required to enforce the state constitution, they are the proper defendants.
And, down in Charleston, Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley applied for a same-sex marriage license last month and are asking that U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel issue a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing its ban, effectively opening the way for same-sex marriages.
In a response to that case filed this past Monday, Attorney General Alan Wilson said he opposes the request and argues that “because this case seeks to decide the core question of two people’s marital status, it belongs in state court rather than federal court.” He also argues that the Charleston court should put a hold on the case until a decision in the Columbia case which is farther along in the legal process, or, in the case that Gergel issues a preliminary injunction, the injunction be put on hold until the state can appeal to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The same court, by the way, that has already ruled same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.
In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] and South Carolina Equity are suing South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles in federal court in Greenville on behalf of three people who had same-sex marriages in other states and changed their surnames. The suit alleges that DMV officials refused to allow them to use the names on their licenses.
There’s the update, but let’s break it down very simply: say that Judge Childs rules favorably in the case of Bradacs v Haley, Wilson, et al, which she’ll have to do because a ruling from a higher court has already been given. Well, then Nikki Haley and her Little Lap Dog Alana Wilson will file an appeal and take their case to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who will, and I’ll put this in laymen’s terms and avoid the legalese, look at Haley and say, “Bitch, please! You’re wasting time and tax dollars. This case was decided in October. Take your hate, put it on a shelf and move on."
Undoubtedly, though, Nikki Haley who doesn’t understand when she is wrong — something she is most of the time — will them have Toto, er, Wilson, file an appeal to the US Supreme court and they will say, “Bitch please! We said we would let the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling stand. You have no case. Go home.”
And then she might, after having wasted time she could have spent on governing the state, and tax payer dollars that could have gone to something more important t than the fight against equality.
I said this the other day, but I’ll say it again; back in the 1960s Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked a schoolhouse door to keep Black children from entering the schools. That is his legacy, being on the wrong side of the Civil Rights movement and literally standing in the way of equality.
By comparison, Nikki Haley is figuratively barring the door to marriage for same-sex couples in South Carolina, and that will be her legacy; she will be remembered for a few things, but one of the most prominent will be her fight against marriage equality even after the battle for equality has been won.
It’s time to step aside, Governor Haley; you’ve lost.
Build a bridge … and get over it.