I’ve often claimed that, down here in South Carolina, it’s not the heat, but the stupidity that’ll get you, and, well, my point has been proven yet again.
As has been happening around the good old US of A lately, when a state's same-sex marriage ban is ruled unconstitutional that state’s government officials unleash the hounds, er, lawyers, to defend the ban, to request stays and to file appeals
And those of us who live in those states, like South Carolina, get a little annoyed by that, because since our Attorney General Alan Wilson has refused to admit he’s lost, We The People of South Carolina, through our tax dollars, will pay for those appeals and the stays and the lawsuits. But, what many don’t realize is that it is not just the defense case the taxpayers will fund; we may also be responsible for the legal bills of the gay couples who successfully challenged South Carolina’s marriage ban.
See, federal law requires the losing party in cases involving basic constitutional rights to pay the legal fees of the winning plaintiffs and South Carolina just got its first bill from the seven Charleston attorneys who successfully challenged the state's same-sex marriage ban. Those attorneys have filed a petition in federal court seeking $152,709 in attorneys’ fees, which, if they are successful, will be paid for by, ahem, We The People of South Carolina.
And, since Wilson has vowed to continue defending South Carolina’s same-sex marriage laws in several other cases in both of the state’s federal district courts, those plaintiff's lawyers can ask to be reimbursed for their costs as well. And when Wilson loses those cases, all the way to the Supreme Court if he gets his way, We The People of South Carolina might be on the hook for those costs, too.
Yup, we’re paying to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and we’re paying to have the ban declared unconstitutional; we pay both sides.
But, and this is where I forget about how stupid some in South Carolina can be and a great big grin spreads across my face, any monies these seven attorneys are awarded will not be accepted by them; instead, they have announced plans to donate their fees to the LGBT rights groups that hired them to sue the state, including Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the South Carolina Equality Coalition.
So, and this is where I smile, because I imagine this will irk Alan Wilson even more, the harder he fights to keep the ban in place, the more money it costs the people of South Carolina, and the more money gets donated to LGBT groups in the state.
Hmmm, maybe not so stupid after all?