A probate court in South Carolina has begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the fact that there has not been a court ruling directly addressing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Probate Judge Irvin G. Condon issued the license to Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon and her fiance Nichols Bleckley. (Irvin and Colleen are apparently distant cousins.)
South Carolina is part of the Fourth Circuit, which means it is impacted by the Circuit’s marriage equality decision in Virginia and this week’s action by the Supreme Court. However, though the outcome is essentially guaranteed by the precedent, the state’s ban must technically be challenged itself, and a federal district judge could overturn it quite quickly. That has not yet happened.
Judge Condon issued a statement Wednesday explaining his actions:
As a result of the actions of the United States Supreme Court on October 6, 2014, the Charleston County Probate Court is required to accept and issue marriage licenses for same sex couples. Applications will be accepted beginning today, October 8, 2104, and the Charleston County Probate Court will issue the marriage license after the mandatory 24 hour waiting period unless stayed by the South Carolina Supreme Court or other appropriate court.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) promised this week to continue defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.