South Carolina

STATUS:

Marriage

WINNING MARRIAGE:

On November 12, U.S. District Court Judge Gergel ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in South Carolina, striking down the state's ban on marriage between same-sex couples. The ruling is stayed 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 to make committed, loving couples wait to get married.

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. Despite the additional legal proceedings, 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 argued 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.
  • Lambda Legal is a national legal group committed to protecting LGBT people.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the state Constitution, and state and federal laws.
  • 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

After year of momentum, same-sex couples and families give thanks on Thanksgiving

This holiday season, as we spend time with our family, we feel thankful for what we've accomplished this year -- we've won the freedom to marry in eighteen states (for a total of 35 and our nation's capital) and seen marriage move forward across the country.

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.

Federal judge rules denying the freedom to marry in South Carolina is unconstitutional

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Gergel ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in South Carolina, striking down the state's ban on marriage between same-sex couples.

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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 »