South Carolina

STATUS:

Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; the Supreme Court denied review of the 4th Circuit ruling in favor of the freedom to marry on October 6. This ruling is now binding throughout the Circuit, meaning that it is likely that soon same-sex couples will have the freedom to marry in South Carolina.

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

On October 8, the stay was lifted in the federal marriage case Bradacs v. Haley, which was filed in August of 2013. Soon after, marriage licenses began being issued to same-sex couples in Charleston, but on October 9, the marriages were put on hold pending the outcome of the federal case. Judge Michelle Childs announced on October 14 that she would decide soon whether she needed an in-person oral argument in SC in order to rule in the case. Briefs are due from both the plaintiffs and defendants on October 23, with replies due 21 days later. Despite the additional briefing, the verdict in the case should be clear: The 4th Circuit ruling in Virginia requires that Judge Childs strikes down the constitutional amendment barring same-sex couples from marriage once and for all.

On October 15, Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality joined in filing a new federal lawsuit, Condon v. Haley, making the case that the 4th Circuit ruling is binding in South Carolina and that marriages must begin immediately. Read more about marriage litigation in South Carolina.

Both cases argue that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling in Virginia is binding in South Carolina. 

HISTORY:

In 2006, anti-gay forces in South Carolina pushed through Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from attaining any form of legal family status. 

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • SC Equality is a statewide coalition of fair-minded individuals, religious groups, and social justice organizations working to secure civil and human rights for all citizens of South Carolina, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
  • Alliance for Full Acceptance is a social justice organization achieving equality and acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

POLLING DATA:

A majority of residents in South Carolina (54%) support either marriage or civil union for same-sex couples. (Public Policy Polling, December 2012  

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 7,214 same-sex couples are living in South Carolina, representing 4.0 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to South Carolina

Finishing the Job: how marriage is moving forward nationwide

Now, as momentum surges across the country, it is more important for supporters to do all they can to speak out for the freedom to marry nationwide. Here's what's going on in the 4 other states set up for the freedom to marry soon, plus the 15 where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry.

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

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.

PHOTOS: The freedom to marry arrives in some South Carolina counties

Today, same-sex couples rejoiced in South Carolina as some county officials began taking action and issuing marriage licenses. In other counties, advocates at South Carolina Equality and the Campaign for Southern Equality pushed for the implementation of the 4th Circuit ruling in SC.

See All »

Resources Related to South Carolina

South Carolina Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in South Carolina.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

See All »