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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

South Carolina Marriage Ban Struck Down

Freedom to Marry reports:
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. This ruling came after the United States Supreme Court denied review in five cases involving the freedom to marry, including a case in Virginia. Because Virginia is in the 4th Circuit, the ruling is binding for the entire circuit, including South Carolina. Since this ruling, West Virginia and North Carolina have secured the freedom to marry. The ruling is stayed until November 20 at noon.
Judge Gergel's ruling reads in part:
The Court finds that [Bostic v. Schaefer] controls the disposition of the issues before this Court and establishes, without question, the right of Plaintiffs to marry as same sex partners. The arguments of Defendant Wilson simply attempt to relitigate matters already addressed and resolved in Bostic. Any effort by Defendant Wilson or others to overrule Bostic should be addressed to the Fourth Circuit and/or the United States Supreme Court.
Full text of the ruling is here.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has already announced he will immediately appeal the ruling.

--And in other news--

Update, 6:45 p.m.: Kansas couples are free to marry. Late this afternoon, the Supreme Court denied a stay of a federal judge's ruling striking down the Sunflower State's marriage ban. SCOTUSblog reports:
Because the judge’s ruling had been on hold only because of a temporary Supreme Court order issued Monday, the Kansas ruling took effect when the Justices’ new order lifted the earlier postponement. State officials are now under a federal court requirement to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Court has issued a series of orders in same-sex marriage cases over the past eleven months, but the Kansas order marked the first time that members of the Court had recorded dissents. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas noted only that they would have granted the delay sought by the Kansas attorney general.

Kansas officials had attempted to show that their case was different from others that the Supreme Court had chosen to leave undisturbed, arguing that the federal judge’s order was an invalid attempt to second-guess a Kansas Supreme Court order delaying the issuance of same-sex marriages. The federal judge had rejected that claim, but it may have been the one that drew the implied support of Justices Scalia and Thomas.
Today's order from the Supreme Court in its entirety.  Click to enlarge.

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