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South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson Vows to Continue Upholding State's Gay Marriage Ban

WilsonIn a move that could only be described as channeling the spirit of George Wallace, South Carolina's Attorney General Alan Wilson has pledged to keep fighting to uphold the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage - despite the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals pro-equality ruling taking effect earlier today.

The Associated Press reports:

Wilson issued a statement Monday hours after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal of a ruling allowing same-sex marriage by a federal appeals court with jurisdiction over South Carolina.

Wilson says no ruling has been made in a lawsuit by a same-sex couple legally married in Washington, D.C., who live in South Carolina. They are asking to overturn the state's gay marriage ban. Wilson says he will keep fighting until there is a ruling in that case.

Spinning his wheels...

South Carolina Mayor Becomes 500th To Join Freedom To Marry Coalition In Support Of Marriage Equality

Steve benjamin

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina has become the 500th to join Freedom to Marry's coalition in support of same-sex marriage, and his is a vital step. Columbia is the largest city, and the capital, of South Carolina, a state still highly opposed to same-sex marriage. Only one other S.C. mayor, Sarah Sherwood of Abbeville, has signed on to the coalition which began in 2012.

Buzzfeed reports:

“It’s a great honor to be able to stand up and represent 500 mayors from all across this great nation standing together in the name of equality,” Benjamin said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “As Dr. King might say, I don’t know if that’s the historic, politic or popular thing to do. But I do know that it’s the right thing to do because we’re all Americans and if you are not free then neither am I.”

A bold and exciting statement to say the least, and one that could really affect change alongside 499 other mayors as the Supreme Court considers hearing same-sex marriage cases from around the country. 

“From Alabama to West Virginia and from big cities and small, 500 mayors have now pledged to make the case in their communities for ending marriage discrimination,” said Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, in a statement. “Mayor Benjamin, like the hundreds of other mayors, knows that marriage strengthens families and communities..."

“The Supreme Court should listen to the bipartisan chorus of mayors who stand on the right side of history and bring an end to marriage discrimination in America once and for all,” [Solomon] said.

South Carolina DMV Forces Gender Non-Conforming Teen To Remove Make-Up For Driver's License Photo, Trans Rights Group Files Suit: VIDEO


In March, 16 year-old South Carolina resident Chase Culpepper was told by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles to remove the make-up he wears on a daily basis otherwise he would not be allowed to take his driver's license photo. The DMV employees claimed that he did not "look the way a boy should" and was not allowed to wear a "disguise" in his photo as he needed to "look male". Chase removed as much makeup as he he could so he could get his license but reported feeling humiliated after the incident. 

DmvIn June, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) stepped in and sent a request to the DMV, asking that Chase be allowed to re-take his photo with the make-up he wears every day. That request went unanswered. Now, the organization has filed a federal suit on Chase's behalf:

The suit – brought by Chase’s mother Teresa Culpepper on his behalf as a minor – asks the court to rule that denying Chase the freedom to wear his everyday makeup in his license photo constitutes sex discrimination and violates his right to free speech and expression under the United States Constitution. It also seeks a ruling under the U.S. and South Carolina Constitutions that the DMV’s photo policy is unconstitutionally vague, too broad, and lets DMV employees arbitrarily decide how a driver's license applicant should look, without regard for the rights of the people they are supposed to serve. [...]

“My clothing and makeup reflect who I am,” Chase said.  “The Department of Motor Vehicles should not have forced me to remove my makeup simply because my appearance does not match what they think a boy should look like. I just want the freedom to be who I am without the DMV telling me that I’m somehow not good enough.”

Watch a news report on Chase's trip to the DMV, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "South Carolina DMV Forces Gender Non-Conforming Teen To Remove Make-Up For Driver's License Photo, Trans Rights Group Files Suit: VIDEO" »

Gay Couples Denied Marriage Licenses In Greenville, South Carolina: VIDEO


Last week, six gay and lesbian couples applied for marriage licenses at a local courthouse in Greenville, South Carolina, knowing full well that their requests would immediately be denied. And they were.

The protest campaign, named "We Do" and spearheaded by the Campaign for Southern Equality, was inspired by Monday's decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down Virginia’s gay marriage ban. That ruling has jurisdiction over South Carolina.

The very next day, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said he would continue to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Greenville2The Greenville News reports on other movements in the state:

On Wednesday S.C. Equality announced a petition drive to encourage Wilson to change his mind. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Hooper announced on Monday he would not defend North Carolina's ban.

"Instead of spending money on our state's crumbling infrastructure or improving education and access to healthcare in our state, Attorney General Wilson plans to waste our tax dollars defending a ban that will ultimately be struck down," said Ryan Wilson, S.C. Equality executive director.

You can sign the petition here.

According to the Campaign for Southern Equality, roughly 150 people showed up to counter-protest the gay and lesbian couples during the "We Do" event.

Watch a WSAV-TV news segment about it all, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Gay Couples Denied Marriage Licenses In Greenville, South Carolina: VIDEO" »

SC Attorney General Will Continue to Defend State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban: VIDEO

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has said that he will continue to fight a lawsuit aiming to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage despite a ruling by a federal appeals court, reports The Daily Journal.

Unlike Wilson, yesterday North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced he would no longer defend the state's ban in court. There are four lawsuits currently challenging it in North Carolina.

South Carolina passed a law banning same-sex marriage in 1996. Voters approved a similar constitutional amendment in 2006.

Yesterday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling has jurisdiction over South Carolina which is in the circuit, along with North Carolina and West Virginia.

The lawsuit against South Carolina was filed by a Katherine Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin who were legally married in Washington, D.C., and are now living in South Carolina. The case has been on hold while the appeals court considered the Virginia case.

Mark Powell, a spokesman for Wilson, said he sees no need to change course because the U.S. Supreme Court will likely make the final decision.

"Ultimately, this will be a decision for the U.S. Supreme Court. People should not rush to act or react until that time, when a decision is made by the highest court in the land.”

However, according to Ryan Wilson, executive director of South Carolina Equality, the ruling brings the state one step closer to same-sex marriage and “confirms that gay and lesbian couples are no different from straight couples.”

Last October, Linda Oliver, the mayor of West Union, South Carolina, came under fire for saying that she didn't want "queer" marriages "rammed down her throat."

Watch a report on the striking down of Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "SC Attorney General Will Continue to Defend State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban: VIDEO" »

South Carolina Police Chief Crystal Moore, Fired For Being Lesbian, Officially Reinstated


After a two-month controversy, former Latta, South Carolina police chief Crystal Moore has returned to her old position despite a temporary firing by Mayor Earl Bullard. Following a successful vote on Friday, wherein the Town Council overturned Bullard's firing of Moore and hiring of a new police chief, Moore was officially reinstated. Head to the twitter feed of SC reporter Liz Cooper, who live tweeted the event, where many Latta citizens showed their support for Moore, a town fixture who has held her position for 23 years.

In addition to Cooper's photos, SC Equality has a couple shots featuring Moore. Check them out, AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t HuffPo]

Continue reading "South Carolina Police Chief Crystal Moore, Fired For Being Lesbian, Officially Reinstated" »


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