What is the Impact in SC of Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruli - WSPA.com

What is the Impact in SC of Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Rulings?

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Same-sex marriage supporters march to the SC Statehouse Wednesday evening. Same-sex marriage supporters march to the SC Statehouse Wednesday evening.

A group called "South Carolina Equality", people who support equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, marched to the Statehouse and the Columbia City Hall Wednesday night to celebrate the US Supreme Court's most recent rulings.

The court ruled that the federal Defense Of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, is unconstitutional because it does not treat same-gender married couples the same as heterosexual married couples.

Clayton King of Columbia, who plans to go to New York later this year with his partner of 30 years so they can get married, says, "I look at it as a very important first step. It sort of sets a precedent, and so in those cases where people are married out of state, there are federal benefits that we are now entitled to. So while our own state still discriminates against same-gender marriage, we can file, for example, joint tax returns. If my partner of 30 years were to die tomorrow, God forbid, I'm not going to pay inheritance tax like Edie Windsor had to, which is what brought this whole thing about."  

Windsor and her partner were married in Canada. When her partner died, Windsor was required to pay more than $360,000 in federal inheritance tax, which she would not have had to pay if they were a heterosexual couple. She brought the lawsuit that led to the court's ruling.

University of South Carolina law professor Derek Black thinks the ruling means other states, even ones like South Carolina that have laws defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, will still have to make changes.

"My opinion is that, yes, under current law, if someone moved from New York to here, this state would have to recognize the fact that they were married, because we would certainly recognize a heterosexual couple's marriage from New York," he says. "So does South Carolina have to let same-sex couples get married in the state of South Carolina, recognize that? No. But if someone's married from outside the state, South Carolina doesn't really have a good reason for saying, 'Well, you're not married when you come into our state.'"

Same-gender marriage supporters say while they celebrate today, they go to work tomorrow to either get the state's constitutional amendment repealed, or fight against it in court.

But supporters of the amendment vow to fight just as hard to keep it. Oran Smith, president and CEO of the Palmetto Family Council, says, "Nothing in the court's tap dancing today changes the South Carolina marriage definition Palmetto Family worked so hard to pass by 78%. In fact, by overturning a federal law (Defense Of Marriage Act) and affirming the laws in the few states allowing same sex marriage, the court has affirmed the SC Constitutional definition as well. The court did not find a federal constitutional right of individuals of the same gender to marry, and that is a relief for supporters of both traditional marriage and federalism. Palmetto Family is committed to continuing to stand for marriage and to defeat any efforts to redefine or weaken this essential union."

The Supreme Court also ruled on California's Proposition 8, but that ruling affects only California. Voters in the state had passed Proposition 8, which defined marriage as only between one man and one woman, but a lower court ruled that was unconstitutional.

Supporters of the same-sex marriage ban appealed, but the Supreme Court ruled that they did not have legal standing to bring a case.


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