Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SC determined to bring up the rear....

A federal judge today found South Carolina's ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.

Photo courtesy of SC Equality
This should come as no surprise, since the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found the ban unconstitutional last month. And while that ruling concerned a case from Virginia, all the states covered by the Fourth have seen the handwriting on the wall, have stopped wasting taxpayer dollars, and started allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Except, of course, South Carolina.

Because Governor Haley, who vowed that "This administration will continue to uphold the will of the people," wants you to remember her as the governor who continued to fight for the will of the people, much as George Wallace is remembered for photos of him blocking black students from entering Alabama schools after desegregation. Maybe she could block the doors of the courthouse as same-sex couples try to enter for marriage licenses.

Make no mistake, SC's governor is just as much on the wrong side of history as he was, and history will be no kinder to her. Remember too that slavery was once the will of the people.

Likewise, SC Attorney General Wilson has already said he will appeal this the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The same court that has already ruled that the bans are unconstitutional. A ruling that the Supreme Court has already declined to review.

His argument is that the 6th Circuit Court has since ruled that such bans ARE constitutional. But they are the only court to rule that way of more than forty federal court rulings. And SC is not covered by that court. True, that ruling may mean the Supreme Court will have to address the issue again soon, and hopefully this time more fully, and it has even been rumored that the ruling was designed to force the Supreme Court to get involved. But that does not change the fact that the issue has been addressed by the very court he is appealing to, and the Supreme Court already refused to hear an appeal of that ruling.

In case you are wondering why all this matters, consider the words of William Lucas Walker, who is, like me, a South Carolinian in exile. And consider the same-sex families still living there:

"I love South Carolina. Loved growing up there. Love going back. Despite the fact that we're two guys with kids, in 15 years we've never had a bad experience. Our family is welcomed at Sunday services by the same congregation that's known me since I was child. Our kids have been cared for in the same nursery where I used to play. On my October trips, when Kelly and the kids aren't with me, the minister always asks to see pictures. That's the South Carolina I love.

But it doesn't mean we're safe. Not as a family. Not in case of emergency. Every time we go back together we can't avoid the unspoken stress of wondering what might happen to us if there were some sort of accident or medical crisis. Would Kelly be recognized as my spouse? Would I be recognized as his? Would we be seen as our children's parents? Allowed to make medical decisions for each other or for them?

 It's not a hypothetical fear."

 It is done, South Carolina. Get on the right side of history. Be the state I love.

Your drive to get to be the very last state with institutionalized bigotry is embarrassing. And your citizens deserve better than you wasting their money on that.

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