News (USA)

Federal judge may hold hearing over South Carolina same-sex marriage ban

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Attorneys have until next week to file motions in a lawsuit playing a key role in South Carolina’s debate over the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, a judge ruled Tuesday.

South-CarolinaAccording to an order by U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs, attorneys have until Oct. 23 to file, with another three weeks for responses. Childs also said that she may hold a hearing in the case, although that wouldn’t happen for several more weeks.

In that September 2013 lawsuit, Highway Patrol Trooper Katherine Bradacs and U.S. Air Force retiree Tracie Goodwin, who were married in Washington, D.C., are suing to have South Carolina’s gay marriage ban overturned and their union legally recognized.

The case had been on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court last week opted not to hear an appeal of a ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia by a federal appeals court with jurisdiction over South Carolina.

After that, Childs put the case back on track, asking both sides to submit a briefing schedule.

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After the justices’ ruling, couples began applying for marriage licenses across the state. State law requires a 24-hour wait between applying and granting a license. State Attorney General Alan Wilson used that time to ask the state Supreme Court to block the licenses while the federal court was heard.

The applications are on hold until the federal case is resolved. Legal experts have said it’s just a matter of time before Childs finds the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Virginia applies to South Carolina and that the marriages may go forward.

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