What do gay rights rulings mean for South Carolina? Not much. - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

What do gay rights rulings mean for South Carolina? Not much.

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As the US Supreme Court declared a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and also ruled against California's Proposition 8, many have wondered what that means for us here in South Carolina.

The short answer? Not much.

In 2006, voters in the Palmetto State approved an amendment added to the state's Constitution that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions.

A marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This State and its political subdivisions shall not create a legal status, right, or claim respecting any other domestic union, however denominated. This State and its political subdivisions shall not recognize or give effect to a legal status, right, or claim created by another jurisdiction respecting any other domestic union, however denominated. Nothing in this section shall impair any right or benefit extended by the State or its political subdivisions other than a right or benefit arising from a domestic union that is not valid or recognized in this State. This section shall not prohibit or limit parties, other than the State or its political subdivisions, from entering into contracts or other legal instruments.

University of South Carolina Law professor Derek Black does not think South Carolina will overturn the amendment anytime soon.

"Many legal scholars think that South Carolina would be obligated to recognize that marriage but the Supreme Court didn't rule on that today," said Black.

The court did say the federal government cannot discriminate against same-sex marriage.

"Let's ask ourselves, if the federal government cannot discriminate against individuals in regard to marriage why should a state be able to," said Black.

Palmetto Family Council leader Oran Smith also noted the state's amendment in a statement released after the court's ruling.

"Nothing in the court's tap dancing today changes the South Carolina marriage definition Palmetto Family worked so hard to pass by 78%," said Smith. "In fact, by overturning [DOMA] and affirming the laws in a few states allowing same-sex marriage, the court has affirmed the SC Constitutional definition as well."

However, the same-sex marriage support group SC Equality says there is still a reason to celebrate the ruling.

"The Supreme Court didn't rule in any way that would impact other states and their Constitutional amendments, but they did set up an important precedent that the highest court in our country stated that if you grant marriage to one person, you must grant it to all regardless of their sexual orientation, and for those states making a decision to be fair and equal, and provide people with the freedom to marry the person they love, those legally binding documents will be valid no matter where you are," said SC Equality's Ryan Wilson.

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