State papers call for marriage equality in South Carolina

After a federal judge stuck down South Carolina's ban on marriage equality, state newspapers have now called for the state to stop fighting and begin to enact marriage equality. South Carolina is one of the states that was included, and now impacted, by the Supreme Court's decision to not hear a case on marriage equality. While South Carolina may appeal, it appears unlikely that the decision to strike down the marriage ban will be reversed.

Some papers, like the Lake Wylie Pilot, were more circumspect, noting that some South Carolinians may see the ruling as a blessing, while others continue to resist it. But the Pilot settles itself on the side of marriage equality, love and fairness:

The Lake Wylie Pilot comes down on the side of allowing same-gender couples the right to enjoy the same privileges as traditional married couples. These privileges include tax benefits, health care coverage, the right to parent children and most importantly, the right to happiness.

The Rock Hill Herald makes note that marriage equality continues to win in federal courts, and sees South Carolina's efforts to challenge those as a waste of effort and taxpayer money.

The decision by Wilson, abetted by Haley, to pursue a dead-end appeal to preserve the ban amounts to political pandering at its worst. They shouldn’t be wasting state resources to advance a hopeless cause.

Legal maneuvering aside, it should be apparent even to the average citizen that the argument in favor of banning gay marriage is simply wrong on its merits. Gergel’s ruling this week rejected all of Wilson’s arguments, especially the attorney general’s contention that legislatures should make laws defining basic constitutional rights.

“One’s right to life, liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote,” Gergel wrote.

And the Greenville News, which is the daily paper in the town where Bob Jones University is located, also urges SC Attorney General Alan Wilson, to drop the fight against marriage equality.

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to consider challenges to rulings from the 4th Circuit and two other circuits. A different ruling in the 6th Circuit ensures the Supreme Court will have to address this issue again, but the result seems inevitable. A right to gay marriage has been recognized in many states in the country, and that right cannot now be taken away. Also, a couple legally married in North Carolina or Virginia should have that marriage legally recognized if they move to South Carolina.

Judge Gergel's ruling came in a case brought by Colleen Condon and her partner, Nichols Bleckley, in Charleston. The judge granted a temporary stay until Thursday in the event Attorney General Wilson wanted to take an appeal to the 4th Circuit. Wilson should end his fight.

South Carolina leaders, including Wilson and Gov. Nikki Haley, have an opportunity to provide leadership at this time by helping the people who elected them understand that this battle against gay marriage is over. And it is.

South Carolina remains one of the most conservative states in the country, and many of its leading papers have understood the reality that banning marriage equality harms LGBT people and families. The papers have called on the state to begin to accept the reality of LGBT people and marriage equality into the legal framework of the state, even while holding traditional conservative values.