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Federal Judge Strikes Down SC Gay Marriage Ban

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By FITSNEWS || Another day, another judge ruling on the issue of gay marriage …

This time it’s U.S. District Court judge Richard Gergel – who ruled that a lesbian couple in Charleston County, S.C. can legally marry thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to overturn a fourth circuit ruling striking down Virginia’s gay marriage ban.

According to Gergel, South Carolina’s gay marriage ban – approved by voters in 2006 – is also unconstitutional.  And barring a successful appeal from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, Gergel’s ruling means gay marriages could begin in the Palmetto State as soon as November 20.

South Carolina is currently the only state in the fourth circuit blocking gay marriages.

In addition to the fourth circuit ruling on the Virginia ban, a separate challenge to South Carolina’s gay marriage ban is currently pending before U.S. District Court judge Michelle Childs – a case involving a female Highway Patrol trooper Katherine Bradacs and her partner, Tracie Goodwin.

Bradacs and Goodwin were married in another state, but are suing South Carolina for its failure to recognize their union.

In addition to these cases, there’s a sixth circuit ruling which upholds the rights of states like South Carolina to ban gay marriage – meaning this issue is likely headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court (which will have to rule on it this time).

This website’s oft-stated view on this issue is abundantly clear: No government – local, state or federal – should have the ability to ban (or compel) marriage, gay or straight. Or plural, for that matter. That’s because marriage isn’t a government institution, it’s a religious one – meaning the question should be left to individual congregations.

As for civil unions, we believe the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment compels government to acknowledge both homosexual and heterosexual unions … even plural unions.

UPDATE: S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson has issued a statement in response to Gergel’s ruling.  In it, he states that his office “has an obligation to defend state law as long as we have a viable path to do so.”

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