HRC Blog

Hopes are High for Marriage Equality in South Carolina

Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, HRC Senior Content Manager

Yesterday Ivy Hill and Misha Gibson applied for a marriage license for the third time at the Greenville County South Carolina Probate Court. And all four times, the clerk denied them a license as a result of the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying.

Ivy and Misha, along with several other couples, have been on the front lines of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s “We Do” campaign. As Hill explains, these couples continue applying for marriage licenses even though they know they will be denied. But they had higher hopes yesterday.

This week’s decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit declared Virginia’s marriage ban  to be unconstitutional on the basis that it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment. The Fourth Circuit’s jurisdiction includes Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Attorneys general in Virginia and North Carolina announced their intentions to stop enforcing their states respective bans. But South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has declared that he will continue to uphold the state’s amendment until the Supreme Court weighs in on the case.

But Ivy and Misha are going to keep trying.

“North Carolina realizes that these are losing arguments, and the reality is that they are losing arguments here in South Carolina too,” says Ivy. “There was a lot more hope in the air than there ever has been before .... I think we’re all really excited about the ruling.”

Yesterday’s action was also sponsored by a trans advocacy group called Gender Benders, which was co-founded by Misha and Ivy, who identifies as genderqueer and uses gender neutral pronouns. “It was really nice,” said Ivy, “to see unity around these issues that are often so divisive.”

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