Love is the Law in South Carolina as U.S. Supreme Court denies stay in marriage case

Today, November 20, the United States Supreme Court denied the state of South Carolina's request for a stay in Condon v. Wilson, a federal legal case in which a federal judge found that South Carolina's constitutional amendment denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The order, issued just days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit also denied a request for a stay, means that the freedom to marry is law of the land in South Carolina beginning at 12:00pm today. 

The decision from the U.S. Supreme Court comes less than a week after SCOTUS also denied requests for a stay in a similar federal ruling from Kansas. This fall, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in 5 marriage cases, allowing the freedom to marry to stand in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, which paved the way for marriage across the 4th and 10th Circuits. The Court has also explicitly denied requests for stay extensions in Idaho, Alaska, Kansas, and now South Carolina. Four marriage cases from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of upholding marriage discrimination, are now seeking review from the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse that out-of-step ruling. 

One thing is clear from the nation's highest court's actions this fall: There is no good reason for same-sex couples to be forced to wait for the freedom to marry. 

It's been a busy month for the freedom to marry in South Carolina: Following the October 6 decision from the Supreme Court allowing the 4th Circuit ruling to take effect, a judge accepted a marriage license application from a same-sex couple in South Carolina, which prompted the Condon v. Wilson case being filed by Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality. One month later, the judge issued a ruling striking down South Carolina's marriage ban, and just days later, a separate judge issued a ruling in Bradacs v. Haley, a long-gestating case seeking respect for marriages legally performed in other states, also in favor of the freedom to marry.

Now, with South Carolina making it official and Montana beginning to issue marriage licenses today, 35 states - and all of the states in the 4th, 9th, and 10th Circuits - are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Read more about where state marriage laws stand.