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South Carolina is Still Standing for Marriage

200395410-001The popular expression “don’t mess with Texas” is fine and well, but one could just as easily say the same about South Carolina. We’re a state that has never backed-down from a fight, and this week’s renewed intensity in the national debate for marriage has only reinforced this aspect of our state’s character. Our state was one of the first states in the nation to rightly recognize that a serious struggle was coming when it came to a state’s right to define marriage. That’s why, back in 2006, we were one of the earliest states to pass a constitutional amendment to our state’s constitution to codify that marriage is the relationship between one man and one woman. This amendment was added to our constitution by a vote of 78%-22% in a November, 2006 statewide ballot referendum. Such was the surge of support for the marriage amendment that it helped propel then-Governor Mark Sanford to a landslide reelection over Democratic challenger Tommy Moore.

South Carolina blazed the trail in the defense of marriage, and now we are under attack for standing for our convictions.

Over the past several years, the intensity of the assault on our state’s constitution has only grown. Multiple lawsuits have been filed that have sought to overturn the state’s marriage amendment, claiming that defining marriage at the state level is somehow an affront to equal protection under the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Opponents of SC’s amendment claim that it is a violation of civil rights, because it sets-up two sets of laws: one for heterosexuals and one for homosexuals. This false argument doesn’t even pass the smell test; no one in South Carolina is denied equal civil rights based on their sexual orientation, and all citizens of this state have equal access to the institution of marriage as set-forth by the overwhelming majority of this state’s citizens. Claiming that not providing same-sex marriage licenses is somehow similar to the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s is not only inaccurate and misleading, it is deeply offensive to the nearly 80% of South Carolina citizens of African American descent who supported this state’s marriage amendment.

Make no mistake, the struggle over our state’s constitutional amendment protecting marriage has as much to do with the balance of power between the states and the federal government as it does the definition of marriage itself. Nowhere in the US Constitution is the federal government given any authority over the institution and / or definition of marriage; therefore, under the 10th Amendment, such a power is reserved to the states and the citizens of the states. Thus, for any federal court to declare any state’s constitutional amendments and / or laws on marriage “unconstitutional” is, itself, committing an unconstitutional act. Federal courts have no jurisdiction over state laws unless those laws clearly violate the US Constitution. In the case of marriage law, no such violation exists.

AlanWIlsonThis is why I am so proud of South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson for his continued fight for our state’s constitution, and our state’s right to define marriage as we see fit. By continuing to defend South Carolina’s marriage amendment, the Attorney General is affirming not only our commitment to the institution of marriage and the importance of family, but our fidelity to a constitutional republic based upon the rule of law. The importance of defending marriage, in our state’s case, is doubly important as it is also a defense of our state’s sovereignty under the federal system America’s Constitution created.

The Attorney General’s motion for an injunction, and the SC Supreme Court’s ruling against Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon, demonstrates our state’s commitment to the rule of law. Judge Condon thought he could unilaterally act to undermine the will of 78% of South Carolina’s voters, but AG Wilson and the SC Supreme Court put him on notice that, while some federal judges think they are above the rule of law, we won’t tolerate such judicial arrogance in South Carolina.

Let’s keep up the fight.

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