Midlands couple awaits Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Midlands couple awaits Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

Jerry Kelly and Robert Barnes Jerry Kelly and Robert Barnes

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Jerry Kelly and Robert Barnes wear rings but they're not married.


 "I'd like to call him my spouse but can't do that in South Carolina legally," said Kelly


They've been in a monogamous relationship for the last 45 years.


 "As a human right, I should have the right too marry who I so please," said Kelly. "Our only hope is through the court system."


They're hoping when the US Supreme Court reviews California's Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, that it will destroy the definition of marriage being the union off one man and one woman.


 "Just like a man and woman have a bond and they get married, I have a bond with Jerry that's deep and emotional,"said Barnes.


Oran Smith, president of the Palmetto Family Council, was one of the driving forces behind South Carolina's 2006 Marriage Amendment.  He believes the institution off marriage should not include same-sex couples.


 "There are certain things a male brings to a marriage and there's certain things a female brings to a marriage,”said Smith. "Those complement one another and that's the gold standard for raising children."


 Smith believes states should decide for themselves if they support same-sex marriage.


 "The Supreme Court is either going to say: ‘Let the states continue to define marriage the way they want to,’”said Smith. “Or they're going to find some right within the Constitution to say that you cannot restrict marriage to one man and one woman and then that would federalize it. I of course, think that would be a mistake."

31 states passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. While Washington, D.C., and nine states have legalized it, three of them on Election Day last month.

The South Carolina Equality organization released this statement:

"We expect the court to rule on Prop 8 and on DOMAA that these violate equal protection under the Constitution. Such a ruling would grant federal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples living in SC who are legally married in another state."

 Even though Kelly and Barnes have lived their lives without the same rights as heterosexual couples, they hope the Supreme Court can make the future better for the next generation.


 "I would get married to Robert just to show the world that there are numbers out there,” said Kelly. “I would be one off the numbers that show there are 10,000 in South Carolina that would like to get married."


 Just treat us equally,” said Kelly. “That's all I'm saying."

The first arguments before the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage will likely be in March. A decision could come as early as next June.

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