South Carolina: State should not pay gay marriage lawyer fees

Nichols Beckley, left and, Colleen CondonPhoto: AP Photo/Bruce Smith
 Nichols Beckley, left and, Colleen Condon
Nichols Beckley, left and, Colleen Condon AP Photo/Bruce Smith

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s chief prosecutor says the state shouldn’t have to pay legal fees for a couple who challenged the state’s gay marriage ban.

Attorney General Alan Wilson says in papers filed Wednesday he was merely defending the law of the land as it stood before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on gay marriage in late June.

Attorneys for Colleen Condon and her partner Nichols Bleckley sued last year to get a marriage license. They have asked to be reimbursed $153,000 in legal costs.

Wilson’s response pertains only to Condon and Bleckley. Lawyers for another couple who sued over the ban are also seeking almost $92,000 in attorney fees and court costs.

Judges can order losing parties to pay opponents’ fees, especially in civil rights cases.

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