Good News: Same-sex marriage in South Carolina
Two quick bits of Good News regarding the on-going battle for marriage justice.
A couple of weeks ago, I noted that South Carolina was the only state in the 4th circuit still enforcing a ban on same-sex marriage, with the state arguing that the circuit court decision striking down such bans somehow didn't apply to South Carolina.
No more. On November 12, federal District Court Judge Richard Mark Gergel ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, in accordance with the precedent set by the Fourth Circuit. The decision has been stayed until November 20th to allow time for an appeal, which the state will likely file - to the same appellate court that already struck down such laws.
In another bit of good news on this front, the 6th circuit may have upheld Michigan's marriage discrimination against same-sex couples, but a federal judge ruled that the issue of employee benefits is not about marriage and so said the state law banning the same-sex partners of public employees from receiving benefits is unconstitutional. Part of the strength of the case was the fact that several municipalities were already providing such benefits so the law had the effect of stripping away benefits from people who already had them - and legally it is almost always harder to defend taking something away from people than it is to defend keeping them from having it in the first place.
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