South Carolina

South Carolina

Condon v. Wilson

The Path to Victory:

On November 12, U.S. District Court Judge Gergel ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down the state's ban on marriage between same-sex couples. Judge Gergel issued a stay in this ruling until November 20. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson requested an extension of the stay from the U.S. Supreme Court on November 18, but the stay was denied, underscoring that there is no need to make committed, loving couples wait to get married.

Case Background:

On October 15, 2014, Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a same-sex couple who seek to marry 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.

Bradacs v. Haley

The Path to Victory:

On November 18, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs ruled that South Carolina must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. The ruling comes on the heels of a separate federal decision in Condon v. Haley (see above).

The decision comes more than a month after the United States Supreme Court denied review of a federal legal case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry in Virginia is unconstitutional. Because South Carolina is also in the 4th Circuit, the ruling created a binding precedent throughout the circuit, including in South Carolina. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny review, same-sex couples sought to remove the stay in this federal case seeking the freedom to marry so that judgment could be issued and the freedom to marry could come to South Carolina.

Case Background:

On August 28, 2013, private lawyers filed a federal lawsuit in the 4th Circuit on behalf of a same-sex couple seeking the freedom to marry in South Carolina. The couple, Katherine Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin, was married in 2012 in Washington, D.C. and are seeking respect for their marriage in their home state of South Carolina.

The case was stayed pending a decision at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Bostic v. Schaefer in Spring 2014.

McEldowney v. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

What's Happening:

On October 24, private counsel filed a new legal case in federal district court in South Carolina seeking legal respect for a marriage license of a same-sex couple. A South Carolina woman is seeking respect for her marriage for the purpose of changing her name on her driver's license, but because of South Carolina law denying respect for marriages between same-sex couples, she is unable to do so.

Haas, Indart & Velez v. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

What's Happening:

On October 31, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina and South Carolina Equality filed a lawsuit in state court seeking name changes on the drivers' licenses of three people married to someone of the same sex. Each of the three plaintiffs were denied identification with their chosen last names because they were married to a person of the same sex.

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