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SC Supreme Court: A Big Step For Equality

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SAME-SEX COUPLES TRIUMPH …

Over the objections of scandal-scarred South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson, the Palmetto State’s Supreme Court has issued a potentially groundbreaking ruling regarding the legal rights of people in same-sex relationships.

The case – Jane Doe v. The State of South Carolina – was argued before the high court last March, during the reign of former chief justice Costa Pleicones.  It focused on South Carolina’s domestic violence statutes, and specifically revolved around protections afforded to “household members” under those statutes.

At issue?  An unidentified woman sought – and was denied – a protective order against her former fiancée, who is also a woman.  She sued, arguing that the state had no right to deny her the same protections she would have received had she sought a protective order against a man.

The court agreed with her … as it should have.

“In this case, we cannot find a reasonable basis for providing protection to one set of domestic violence victims – unmarried, cohabiting or formerly cohabiting, opposite-sex couples – while denying it to others,” Pleicones wrote for the court.

“The subsections at issue violate the Equal Protection Clause,” Pleicones added.

Here’s the ruling …

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We concur … wholeheartedly.

News of the court’s ruling was first reported by Meg Kinnard of The Associated Press.

According to Kinnard, Wilson is planning on asking the current court to reconsider its ruling – perhaps hoping that a change in justices (well, one justice) might make a difference.

That’s a fool’s errand.  Gay marriage has been legal in South Carolina since November 2014 when U.S. district court judge Richard Gergel issued a ruling declaring the state’s gay marriage ban to be unconstitutional (which it was).

We believe Wilson is wasting taxpayer time and money (again) pandering to the state’s social conservative voters.

This website’s views on marriage have been made abundantly clear over the years: No government – local, state or federal – should be able to ban (or compel) marriage: Gay, straight or plural.  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 – cited properly by Pleicones in this case – compels government to acknowledge homosexual, heterosexual or plural unions.  And to enforce legal protections accordingly.

This issue really is so simple: If you can find a church to marry you, then government shouldn’t block your union.  Nor should it force any church to perform a ceremony in contravention of its religious beliefs.

As for rights under the law?  They apply to all unions – gay, straight or plural.

UPDATE …

Oops … looks like this ruling has a fatal flaw.

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