Ryan Wilson and Shehan Welihindha traded vows in Baltimore City Hall on New Year’s Day, shortly after midnight, just a few minutes after same-sex marriage became legal in Maryland. When the two men drove across the Virginia state line on their way home to South Carolina, Wilson says, they turned to each other and both had the same thought: Their marriage was no longer recognized. How long will that be true? South Carolina remains a deeply conservative state, politically and socially. But many observers — even those who oppose same-sex marriage — agree same-sex marriage here is probably inevitable someday. Barring dramatic action in two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, it won’t happen in the next year or two. But it might happen faster than you’d expect. And when it does happen, it’ll probably be at the federal level, whether by a decision of the Supreme Court or a law passed by Congress. What’s the path to marriage equality in South Carolina, then? Here, we lay out the likely scenarios, starting with a look at shifting attitudes toward same-sex marriage.
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