CHARLESTON (AP) — A federal judge should dismiss a challenge to South Carolina’s constitutional ban on gay marriage following last week’s federal appeals court ruling upholding such bans in other states, Attorney General Alan Wilson says in legal arguments filed Monday.
“The recent tide of same-sex marriage cases has run squarely into the extremely well- reasoned opinion” by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Wilson wrote in a motion filed in federal court in Charleston.
Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley, who last month applied for a same-sex marriage license in Charleston County, want U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel to issue an injunction preventing South Carolina from enforcing its ban, effectively opening the way for same-sex marriages in the state.
But Wilson wrote that the decision by the appeals court in Cincinnati supports “the clear constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans under the Constitution.”
He added that the decision “emphasizes that marriage is inherently a union of a man and a woman, and that whether that definition is expanded to include same-sex couples is a decision for the states including their people and their legislatures.”
Wilson said the ruling, which conflicts with other federal appeals court decisions, will ultimately lead the way to the U.S. Supreme Court deciding the issue.
Condon and Bleckley have asked Gergel to rule in their favor without a trial. Wilson’s filing on Monday responded to that request. Attorneys for the couple have until Nov. 20 to reply.
The U.S. Supreme Court last month refused to hear an appeal of a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia. That development opened the way for same-sex marriages in other states in the Fourth Circuit. South Carolina remains the only state in the circuit refusing to allow such marriages.
The Charleston case is one of four federal lawsuits challenging South Carolina’s ban.
In a Columbia case, Highway Patrol Trooper Katherine Bradacs and U.S. Air Force retiree Tracie Goodwin are suing to have the state to recognize their marriage performed in Washington, D.C.
In the two other cases, one in Columbia and one in Greenville, four people who changed their surnames after same-sex marriages in other states want the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles to issues licenses with their new names.