Marriage equality supporters rally in front of State House - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Marriage equality supporters rally in front of State House


As thousands in Washington DC took in the first day of two days worth of trials in the US Supreme Court challenging California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, marriage equality activists rallied in front of the State House Tuesday evening.

SC Equality is cautiously optimistic about what's going on in DC because they say the landscape has shifted in the past few years. They say it's only a matter of time before same-sex marriages are recognized here in the Palmetto State.

Ryan Wilson, a South Carolina resident, was also glued to Tuesday's coverage of the trial. Back in January, he traveled to Maryland to take advantage of their new recognition of same-sex marriages.

It's a trip he hopes the next generation won't have to make.

"This country is ready for marriage equality," said Wilson.

Wilson heads SC Equality and points to nationwide polls that show growing support for same-sex marriage, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and President Obama's support as keys to a sea change in the national attitude.

"The country has shifted," said Wilson. "We've had conversations and dialogs that we haven't had before, and people have told their stories in ways maybe they hadn't in the past."

Wilson hopes the same momentum will guide Supreme Court justices as they take up California's Proposition 8 and the federal Definition of Marriage Act that defines marriage as being between a man and woman. South Carolina passed it's own DOMA in 2006 by a large majority.

"That's what the Supreme Court has to decide is can a majority vote on the rights of a minority, and we say no," said Wilson.

However, opponents of same-sex marriage remain vocal. Oran Smith with Palmetto Family continues to support the traditional definition of marriage.

When it comes to the Supreme Court, Smith is hoping for a conservative ruling that will have little effect on states other than California.

"I think what would be a mistake would be circumventing the citizens. And circumventing the citizens in this case is my phrase for turning back what the voters did at the ballot box in California twice, and what nearly 40 state legislatures have done either through constitutional amendments or statutes, " said Smith. "That would be a huge mistake for the court."

The court's decision is expected in June. No matter the outcome, Wilson says that marriage equality is just one part of their larger mission.

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