Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declined South Carolina’s request to stay marriage equality in the state pending appeal of the district court decision striking down the state’s ban.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel ruled against South Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, making the Palmetto State the latest to see such a ban struck down in court since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June. In Condon v. Haley, Lambda Legal and private attorneys sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples who argue that South Carolina’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. In his ruling, Judge Gergel cited the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Shaeffer, in which the federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The Fourth Circuit ruling in Bostic is binding precedent on South Carolina.
Gallup puts support for marriage equality at 55 percent – an astonishing 15 points increase from just 5 years ago – with other polls showing support at even higher margins. And support for same-sex marriage rights continues to grow in virtually every demographic group. According to ABC News / Washington Post, 77 percent of adults under age 30 favor marriage equality. 40 percent of Republicans – an all-time high and jump of 16 points in under two years – now support marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while the number of Catholics supporting marriage has grown to 62 percent,according to the New York Times. These numbers continue to grow, with no indication that support will slow down.
Marriage equality could begin the state as early as this week.
Source: HRC Blog, “Marriage Equality Poised to Reach South Carolina Thursday,” November 18, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media