Swift Movement on Marriage Equality Urged in South Carolina

Swift Movement on Marriage Equality Urged in South Carolina

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First South Carolina Couple Requesting Same-Sex Marriage License
Photo: Bruce Smith, AP

Lambda Legal, in partnership with South Carolina Equality, has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and for summary judgment asking the U. S. District Court for the District of South Carolina to rule swiftly and strike down South Carolina’s discriminatory ban denying same-sex couples in the state the freedom to marry. The motion argues that South Carolina is obligated to follow the ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals striking down a similar ban in Virginia because South Carolina lies within the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit and the decision in the Virginia case is binding.

“There is no reason why South Carolinians should be denied the freedom to marry one more day. The Fourth Circuit’s decision is binding on South Carolina and Governor Haley and Attorney General Wilson should not be allowed to continue to ignore the rule of law,” said Beth Littrell, Senior Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta. “There really is only one legal and logical result – we’re urging the court to allow same-sex couples in South Carolina to marry without any further delay.”

“The fast schedule we received from the Court is excellent news, but the fact remains that every single day that same-sex couples in South Carolina aren’t allowed to marry is harmful and puts them at risk,” said South Carolina Equality lawyer Nekki Shutt, partner at Callison Tighe & Robinson.

Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality represent Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley who applied, and paid, for a marriage license in Charleston County last week before the Attorney General asked the South Carolina State Supreme Court to step in and put a halt to the issuances of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The South Carolina Supreme Court effectively stopped state court judges from issuing marriage licenses or weighing in on marriage equality pending an order from federal court. Another federal case, Bradacs v. Haley, remains pending – it involves couples already legally married seeking recognition in South Carolina of their marriage, while the Condon suit seeks the issuance of a marriage license.

Lambda Legal attorney Beth Littrell is handling the case, joined by South Carolina Equality Coalition attorneys M. Malissa Burnette and  Nekki Shutt of Callison Tighe & Robinson, LLC., and Vickie Eslinger, with Nexsen Pruett, LLC.

Read the Motion for Preliminary Injunction here.

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