AND THE LEGAL MANEUVERING BEHIND IT IS DIZZYING …
By FITSNEWS || Secure in the knowledge that appellate court rulings outlawing gay marriage bans will not be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, judges in South Carolina began issuing marriage licenses for homosexual couples this week.
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and Alan Wilson moved to block the licenses though, arguing the Palmetto State remained bound by a 2006 constitutional ban on the practice.
Haley and Wilson have vowed to defend this ban – even though its future appears to be in grave danger (and even though some judges appear set on issuing licenses anyway).
South Carolina’s gay marriage ban was supported by 78 percent of the state’s voters eight years ago – and recent polls have shown a majority of South Carolinians still oppose same sex marriage.
The legal drama over the issue began in late July when the fourth circuit court of appeals – based in Richmond, Virginia – ruled that state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court – without comment – refused to hear such cases, effectively upholding the lower court ruling.
A lesbian couple who were married in Washington, D.C. challenged the Palmetto State’s ban. That case – Bradacs v. Haley – was stayed by district judge Michelle Childs in April pending the outcome of the Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey .
So … who should have jurisdiction over the issue of marriage in South Carolina?
Is it the federal fourth circuit? That’s what North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper believes, stating that the court’s ruling applies in all the states under its jurisdiction.
Or is it the state’s constitutional ban? That’s what Haley and Wilson believe.
Or is local governments? That’s what presumed presidential candidate Rand Paul believes.
The correct answer? None of the above. From where we sit, all of this legal wrangling (which is costing taxpayers God only knows how much money) is as pointless as it is confusing.
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times: No government – local, state or federal – should have the ability to ban (or compel) marriage, gay or straight. That’s because marriage isn’t a government institution, it’s a religious one – meaning the question should be left to individual congregations.
Government should have absolutely nothing to do with the process … as evidenced by the current debate.
Last March, we polled this issue with our readers. Thirty-four percent of those who responded (781 votes) said they agreed with us. Meanwhile 33 percent (764 votes) said gay marriage should be the law of the land and 33 percent (762 votes) said it should be outlawed.
What are those numbers today?
You tell us … vote in our poll, and post your thoughts in our comments section below.