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South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson Asks SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts to Stay Gay Marriage Ruling: READ

6a00d8341c730253ef01901defb276970b-800wiSouth Carolina's Attorney General Alan Wilson, who has long been entrenched in his battle against attempts to end the state's discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage, is seeking a stay of U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel's ruling that struck down the Palmetto state's marriage ban as unconstitutional from none other than U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Just yesterday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a similar appeal made by Wilson. Now, as BuzzFeed reports, all eyes turn to Roberts and whether the 6th Circuit's move to uphold same-sex marriage bans and the subsequent appeals by plaintiffs in those cases will sway Roberts to intervene:

Since the justices turned down five states’ requests on Oct. 6 to take a marriage case appeal — including a decision from the 4th Circuit striking down Virginia’s marriage ban — the justices have, on three occasions, turned down requests to issue stays of lower court rulings during appeals. This includes one, in Kansas, since the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld four other states’ bans.

Now, however, with requests in from the plaintiffs in those four states’ cases asking the Supreme Court to take one or more of the appeals and resolve the question, Wilson is hoping that he can get a stay issued from the court to stop the trial court ruling from going into effect Thursday.

Specifically, South Carolina is asking the chief justice to grant a stay pending appeal because, the filing asserts, the 4th Circuit Court was wrong in its decision in the case challenging Virginia’s marriage ban, Bostic v. Schaefer, which the Supreme Court let stand on Oct. 6.

Same-sex marriage is set to begin Thursday at noon in South Carolina should a stay not be granted.

Read the appeal filed by Wilson, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Couples in South Carolina Prepare to Marry on Thursday; State's Request for Stay Still Pending

Gay couples in South Carolina are prepared to begin marrying on Thursday at noon, which is when the stay in U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel's ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban expires.

SouthcarolinaLast week after Gergel struck down the ban, Attorney General Alan Wilson filed an emergency stay request asking for the court's order to be halted pending an appeal to the full Fourth Circuit, or, if denied, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys for plaintiffs Colleen Condon and her fiancee Nichols Bleckley filed their response to Wilson's request late Sunday, The Post and Courier reports:

"Currently 34 states permit same-sex couples to marry, or recognize marriages legally celebrated by same-sex couples in other states. If history is any indicator, the State's claim of potential harm here is overstated, if not completely contrived," the new filings says.

Malissa Burnette, lead attorney in Condon's case, has said she feels very optimistic the Fourth Circuit will uphold Gergel's ruling. It is the same court that struck down Virginia's constitutional gay marriage ban and was among those that triggered the recent cascade of legalized same-sex marriage across the nation.

The Fourth Circuit could rule on Wilson's request for an emergency stay at any time.

SCOTUS has also already turned down an appeal request from Virginia in its marriage case, and all the other states in the Fourth Circuit have marriage equality, so it would be a strange and troubling move for the Court to grant Wilson's request.


Stephen Colbert is Apoplectic That Gay Marriage Has Come to the Place He Cares About the Most: VIDEO

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Stephen Colbert is furious at U.S. District Judge Dick Gergel for bringing the scourge of gay marriage to the Palmetto State.

Says Colbert:

"A federal judge has ruled that South Carolina must recognize gay marriage. That is outrageous! When did South Carolina start recognizing the federal government?", adding, "This is the worst thing that has happened to South Carolina since someone found Mark Sanford."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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South Carolina Attorney General Asks Fourth Circuit for Stay on Gay Marriage Ruling Pending Appeal

As expected, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for a stay on U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel's Wednesday ruling overturning the state's gay marriage ban.

The Associated Press reports:

Alan wilsonWilson asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday to stay the judge's order until the entire appeals panel can consider the issue.

In the alternative, if the appeals court doesn't issue a stay, Wilson asked for time to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th Circuit has already struck down Virginia's gay marriage ban, a 2-1 ruling that applied to other states in the circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of that case last month and South Carolina remains the only state in the circuit refusing to allow such marriages.

In asking for the stay, Wilson argued the dissenting opinion in the Virginia case was the correct one.

That opinion supports South Carolina's position that "same-sex marriage restrictions do not discriminate on the basis of sex and that South Carolina's definition of marriage, dating from colonial times, a union of a man and a woman is supported by rational grounds," Wilson wrote in his request.

Last week, the 10th Circuit denied a similar request by Kansas' officials seeking a stay on ruling overturning that state's gay marraige ban. Marriage equality began in Kansas yesterday. 

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson To 'Immediately Appeal' Injunction Against State's Marriage Ban

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6ee8019970b-200wiFollowing Federal Judge Richard Mark Gergel's ruling striking down South Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage today, the state's Attorney General Alan Wilson announced he will appeal Gergel's ruling "immediately", well ahead of the November 20 deadline Gergel set for the state. The appeal will be filed with the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals which has previously struck down bans on same-sex marriage. However, in his announcement, Wilson made sure to reference the 6th Circuit's recent decision against gay marriage and insists that marriage laws are unique enough in South Carolina as to warrant "their day in court." WCSC reports:

"Today's ruling comes as no surprise and does not change the constitutional obligation of this Office to defend South Carolina law," Wilson said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. 

Wilson cites the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recent upholding of "traditional" marriage as a reason for the U.S. Supreme Court to step in to resolve the matter.

The attorney general said South Carolina's laws on marriage are unlike those in any other states, and therefore "should have their day in court at the highest appropriate level."

Wilson's move does not come as a surprise given his history of adamantly advocating for the state's gay marriage ban. 


Federal Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban In South Carolina: READ

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb079f53f5970d-250wiA federal judge has struck down South Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. The Washington Blade reports:

In a 26-page decision issued on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel, an Obama appointee, determines the South Carolina’s ban on gay nuptials violates same-sex couples’ rights to equal protection and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gergel bases his decision on an earlier ruling from the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals against the marriage ban in Virginia, which lies in the same judicial circuit as South Carolina. “While a party is certainly free to argue against precedent, even very recent precedent, the Fourth Circuit has exhaustively addressed the issues raised by Defendants and firmly and unambiguously recognized a fundamental right of same sex couples to marry and the power of the federal courts to address and vindicate that right,” Gergel writes. 

Just last week, South Carolina filed a motion with Judge Gergel asking him to oppose a requested injunction on the state's marriage ban.

Though Gergel's decision comes as welcome news to advocates of marriage equality everywhere, he has issued a one week stay of his decision until November 20 at noon, meaning same-sex couples in the Palmetto State will not be able to marry until that time.

Read Gergel's decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

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