Palmetto Cruelty, or, Traditional Virtues in South Carolina

Seal of South Carolina (detail)

So, this happened today:

The South Carolina Supreme Court is ordering state probate courts not to issue same-sex marriage licenses until a federal judge decides whether the state constitution’s ban on the unions is legal.

(Jeffrey Collins)

This is actually quite an interesting development. After all, as we learned yesterday:

A South Carolina court has accepted a same-sex couple’s application for a marriage license despite the state’s constitutional ban against the practice and the attorney general’s pledge to defend it.

(Associated Press)

The brief summary: The Supreme Court rejects appeals against marriage equality, with several states having lost their fedral court bids to uphold marriage bans. South Carolina accordingly begins issuing marriage licenses. South Carolina filed a motion in the state Supreme Court five minutes before the close of business, asking the Court to quash the licenses before the twenty-four hour waiting period required of all marriage licenses expired. The state Supreme Court accepted the motion and quashed licenses already issued.

It is true that the decision by the Charleston County Probate Court to begin issuing marriage licenses included the hinge of state Supreme Court approval, but here’s the thing about the court’s rationale: The state Supreme Court wants to wait for a federal ruling in another case, one that was put on hold by the SCOTUS decision to refuse the appeals. That case is an Article IV claim; the marriage ban will be struck.

In the end, this is just a deliberate delaying tactic in South Carolina, a wailing, gnashing effort to fend off the inevitable for the sake of simple human cruelty.

____________________

Collins, Jeffrey. “South Carolina Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”. The Huffington Post. 9 October 2014.

Associated Press. “South Carolina Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”. The Huffington Post. 8 October 2014.

Smith, Bruce. “SC high court asked to halt gay marriage licenses”. The State. 8 October 2014.

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