Gay Marriage Ban
South Carolina was slightly behind the majority of states that adopted constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage but in 2006 voters joined the pack with 78 percent majority. The South Carolina Amendment bans marriages and civil unions between gay couples but it does express that no effort will be made to keep private contracts from being recognized. The amendment is short compared to some and reads, “A marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
The Civil Union Equality Act was introduced in January of 2009 by Senator Robert Ford. It was a measure that only addressed gay couples and meant to provide them with the same rights as marriage. With the governor’s signature it would become effective but it was quickly sent to Judiciary committee, moved to a subcommittee in 2010 and has not moved since.
Taking a Stand
As part of awareness with the Campaign for Southern Equality, an organization that works in both Carolinas, three coupleswent to the Greenville County Courthouse asking for marriage licenses. The courthouse knew they were coming and they knew they would be rejected. Courthouse officials had been instructed ahead of time to politely turn the couples down citing the state’s constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. Two more couples had planned to go and one couple did the same in Charleston.
One of the couples was Alyssa Weaver and Michel McIver. “For the three years we’ve been together, we’ve been through a good amount. This totally validated the fact I want to be with her. I want to get married and live with her the rest of my life,” said Weaver, “If we can make it through all we’ve been through so far, why can’t we be married and spend the rest of our lives together?”
- Can gay couples get married in South Carolina? No.
- Does the state offer any legal relationships for gay couples? No.