For some time now the Supreme Court has managed to deftly duck out of the subject of each state’s right to decide on gay marriage for themselves. This was facilitated by the fact that all of the courts seemed to be coming down on the same side, so why rock the boat? But as Ed noted recently, the 6th Circuit pretty much pulled the chair out from under them on that one as four states were allowed to uphold a ban. But some more coins were tossed back into the opposite pan of the scales this morning when a judge in South Carolina swung the needle back in the other direction.
A US District Court judge based out of Charleston has struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in a ruling issued Wednesday morning.
Judge Richard Gergel struck down the ban, but he issued a stay on the ruling until Nov. 20 at noon. That means ban will not be officially ended until that date.
In his ruling, Gergel says the bans “unconstitutionally infringe” on the rights of same-sex couples.
NBC is already confirming the story. The additional eight days built in to the ruling before any same-sex couples can obtain a license will allow for additional legal filings and maneuvers, but it seems highly unlikely that much more will come of it. By the time the Supremes get around to ruling on this – assuming they actually do – more than half the gay couples in the country who wish to do so will be married already anyway.
Since I haven’t said anything to really tick everyone off in at least the last hour or so, I will repeat that all of these “resolutions” in the courts – or even the state legislatures – are not satisfying at all. Personally, I still see no compelling argument that the government, whether at the state level or particularly at the federal level, has the authority to demand a permission slip (a license) or collect a tax (a fee) from any two adults capable of granting consent for them to openly declare that they are in a relationship which they wish to make permanent and celebrate said declaration with their family and friends. If we were to be working on anything in this area, I’d far prefer it to be a push to strike the word marriage from the tax codes in their entirety.
But since that’s never going to happen I suppose we’ll just wait for the Supreme Court to wade in. What could possibly go wrong?