Recognition of same-sex unions in South Carolina
|Legal recognition of
*Not yet in effect
Under South Carolina law, same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships are not recognized.
Amendment 1 (2006)
In 2006, South Carolina voters adopted South Carolina Amendment 1 by 78%, which amended the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in South Carolina. The amendment restricted the impact of that ban to government entities and did not extend its application to contracts between private parties.
Bradacs v. Haley
On August 28, 2013, a same-sex couple, two women married in the District of Columbia in April 2012 who are raising three children, filed a lawsuit, Bradacs v. Haley, in U.S. District of South Carolina challenging the state statute and constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The plaintiffs are a state highway patrol officer and a disabled veteran of the U.S. Air Force. They named the state's governor and attorney general as defendants. The case was initially assigned to U.S. District Judge Joseph Fletcher Anderson, Jr.
The case was reassigned to District Judge J. Michelle Childs on October 18, 2014. Following a motion to stay in abeyance, On April 22, 2014, Judge Childs stayed Bradacs until the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules on in the same-sex marriage case of Bostic v. Rainey. Meanwhile, the judge ordered briefing to go on; all briefs should be in by June 6, 2014
Civil Union Equality Act
On January 13, 2009, the Civil Union Equality Act—a bill to establish civil unions explicitly for same-sex couples only—was introduced in the South Carolina Senate by State Senator Robert Ford of Charleston. The measure would provide all the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples if it becomes the law. The act would take effect upon signature from the governor.
The bill was immediately referred to the senate Judiciary committee, on January 13, 2009. The bill was then moved to the subcommittee on January 20, 2010 where it has remained ever since.
It is unknown whether or not the bill would conflict with Amendment 1 if it is successfully passed.
An August 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 21% of South Carolina voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 69% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 48% of South Carolina voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 19% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 51% favoring no legal recognition and 2% not sure.
A December 2012 Public Policy Polling survey found that 27% of South Carolina voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 62% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 54% of South Carolina voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 25% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 43% favoring no legal recognition and 4% not sure.
An October 2013 poll found that, among adults, 38.5% thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 52.2% thought it should be illegal and 6.1% were not sure.
- Adcox, Seanna (March 22, 2007). "South Carolina officially bans gay marriage". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "Journal of the Senate of the state of South Carolina" (PDF). Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "Gay couple files federal lawsuit attacking SC's Defense of Marriage Law". The State. September 1, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Monk, John (September 3, 2013). "Same-sex marriage suit: Haley will defend SC Marriage Law". The State. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- "Docket, Bradacs v. Haley, No. 3:2013-cv-02351". U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, via Justia.com. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
- State Senator Pushing For Same-Sex Civil Unions In S.C., Robert Kittle, February 4, 2009, WSPA-TV
- "South Carolina General Assembly 118th Session, 2009-2010". Scstatehouse.gov. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Civil Union Equality Act: latest status — South Carolina Legislature
- Public Policy Polling: "SC against gay marriage, Tea Party; Dems want Hillary in '16," September 9, 2011, accessed September 9, 2011
- "Haley Vulnerable in South Carolina". Public Policy Polling. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- "EXCLUSIVE: Majority oppose, but more in SC tolerant of same-sex marriage". The State. November 3, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2013.