Attorney General Alan Wilson will still defend state's same-sex - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Attorney General Alan Wilson will still defend state's same-sex marriage law


South Carolina's Attorney General says he will defend out state's marriage law despite a federal court's decision against a same-sex marriage ban in other states.

The ruling still has 21 days to take effect, so there's a three week window for a legal stay to be requested, which would keep the decision from becoming law. This ruling has to do with a law in Virginia, but could end up affecting South Carolina laws in two ways.

First, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has federal jurisdiction over four states, including South Carolina. Of those four states, Maryland, already allows same-sex marriages.

Attorneys General in Virginia and North Carolina have stated they won't challenge the court's decision, saying it applies as the federal interpretation of the law in these four states and therefore trumps state law.

This decision by the 4th Circuit says a state can't grant marriage to a certain type of couple without granting it to all couples.If it isn't overturned by a higher court, this decision would have an effect on a similar case here in South Carolina: Bradacs v. Haley.

That case was filed by South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper Katherine Bradacs and her wife, Tracie Goodwin. That suit was filed in August 2013 and is the first statewide challenge against the constitutional ban since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

But supporters of South Carolina's marriage law point out same-sex marriage has been brought to the Supreme Court before and will likely see it taken there again.

"The recent court decisions are leading directly to another Supreme Court decision, but we think it's our job as a state to defend the laws as they are written," said Oran Smith of the Palmetto Family Council.

Smith helped lawmakers draft what became South Carolina's law.

Ryan Wilson sits on the other side of the issue as the executive director of SC Equality.

"We're optimistic this opens the door to allow South Carolina to become a state with marriage equality somewhere in the future," said Wilson.

The attorney general's office has stated it will defend the law currently on the books which bans same sex marriage. But one member of the office told me the attorney general doesn't make the laws, he just defends them. He says if it were a different law, he'd defend that as well.

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