Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

South Carolina Issues Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Despite South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson's efforts, from Columbia to Charleston, couples lined up at probate courts to obtain the licenses.

By Kurtis Lee

Several counties in South Carolina on Thursday doled out marriage licenses to same-sex couples, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute effort to halt the nuptials in the state.


From Columbia to Charleston, couples lined up at probate courts to obtain the licenses, sharing photos on social media and calling for marriage equality in all 50 states.

In Richland County, which spans much of the capital city of Columbia, a dozen licenses had been handed out as of 1:30 p.m.

Despite Thursday's Supreme Court ruling, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is not giving up on his effort to halt same-sex marriages in the state. In a statement, he said he hopes the Supreme Court will consider a case out of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that might halt same-sex marriages.

"Despite today's refusal to grant our motion, the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet resolved conflicting rulings by federal appeals courts on the issue of same-sex marriage," Wilson said in the statement.

In the Supreme Court ruling rejecting the South Carolina application for a stay, conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Two federal judges in the state have already ruled against the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The battle over same-sex marriage in South Carolina has gone through several ups-and-downs in recent months.

In October, Colleen Condon and her partner Nichols Bleckley applied for a marriage license in Charleston, S.C., after the U.S. Supreme Court had decided not to hear an appeal of a ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over South Carolina. A probate court judge agreed to accept applications but the state Supreme Court quickly stayed that decision at Wilson's request.

On Wednesday, Montana's ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a federal judge who called the ban unconstitutional. The state's attorney general plans to appeal the decision. Marriages in the state began Thursday.

More than 30 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry.

"As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches next week, we here in the Palmetto State are so thankful that same-sex couples finally have the freedom to marry and be able to have the protections they need to take care of their families," South Carolina Equality lawyer Nekki Shutt said in a statement.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times


Daniel Luzer is GOVERNING's news editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?