Same-sex couples file legal challenge to bring marriage home in South Carolina

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On October 14, Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality filed a federal case in the United States District Court of South Carolina on behalf of a same-sex couple seeking to get married in the state. The couple, Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley, applied for a marriage license in Charleston County last week before the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples was stayed.

The case argues that South Carolina is obligated to allow same-sex couples to marry in light of the 4th Circuit ruling in favor of the freedom to marry in Virginia. Because South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit, that ruling is binding there as well.

Beth Littrell, Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal’s Soutnern Reginal Office, said:

The Fourth Circuit’s decision means that same-sex couples in South Carolina should be shopping for a caterer, not a lawyer. Governor Haley and Attorney General Wilson cannot continue to ignore the rule of law. Fortunately, they have run out of cards to play—we’re urging the court to allow same-sex couples in South Carolina to marry without any further delay. The state doesn’t have any credible arguments for a court in South Carolina to entertain.

South Carolina Equality lawyer Nekki Shutt said:

The Governor and Attorney General are playing politics with our families and it’s shameful. Instead of celebrating and planning weddings, same-sex couples all over South Carolina are holding their collective breath—and they have been waiting long enough.

This case is the second involving the freedom to marry in South Carolina. The first case, Bradacs v. Haley, was filed in August of 2013 by private lawyers on behalf of a same-sex couple seeking respect for their marriage performed out of state.

Read more about litigation in South Carolina here.