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Steve Benjamin wants to extend full benefits to married same-sex couples

Steve Benjamin (Source: City of Columbia)
Steve Benjamin (Source: City of Columbia)
Published: Oct. 9, 2014 at 8:15 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2014 at 8:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin wants to extend full family benefits to same-sex couples that work for the city who have a valid marriage license from any state in the country.

In a letter to city council, City Manager Teresa Wilson, and the city's human resources director, Benjamin said it was time to extend those benefits because of the "significant amount of recent movement regarding marriage equality" in South Carolina.

That letter was submitted hours after Charleston County probate judge Irvin Condon began accepting same-sex marriage applications.

Benjamin says he realizes new costs may come up as a result of his new benefits offer, but he expects them to be minor.

"Let me be clear," Benjamin said. "This is no longer a discussion of faith, politics, or even law. It is simply a matter of time. But we have an opportunity now to demonstrate leadership, foresight and the responsibility the of Columbia should expect from their city."

However, city officials say given Thursday's ruling by the State Supreme Court to halt all marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the matter is fully settled by a higher court, Benjamin's request has been put on hold.

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