South Carolina, Kansas, and Wyoming Really Hate Marriage Equality

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LGBT Shenanigans

South Carolina, Kansas, and Wyoming Really Hate Marriage Equality

Imani Gandy

In which South Carolina, Kansas, and Wyoming pledge to waste taxpayer money fighting a losing battle.

Unless you were asleep or trapped under something heavy on Monday, you’re likely aware that the U.S. Supreme Court washed its hands of the same-sex marriage shenanigans, and let stand appellate court rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana, Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to take up these states’ appeals has paved the way for tons of gay people to get married and destroy traditional marriage as we know it.

It’s all very exciting.

The effect of the Supreme Court’s decision to slap heterosexual unions in the face was not limited to Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, though. Because of the way the judiciary system is structured, same-sex marriage bans in any states that sit in the same federal circuits (i.e., general legal-ish geographical area) in which Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin sit are also unconstitutional.

That means that any state still trying to ban same-sex marriage better hope it’s not sitting in the same circuit as Indiana and Wisconsin (Seventh Circuit) or Virginia (Fourth Circuit) or Oklahoma and Utah (Tenth Circuit) because in those circuits, same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, some states are being stubborn and declaring that the fight is not over.

South Carolina, which sits in the same circuit as Virginia—the Fourth Circuit—is one such state. South Carolina is going to keep fighting, even though the fight will be pointless and a spectacular waste of taxpayer’s money.

On Monday, Alan Wilson, South Carolina’s attorney general, said that he’s still going to keep fighting to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage ban in a lawsuit he is defending against a couple of lesbians, Katherine Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin. Bradacs and Goodwin got married in Washington, D.C., and are suing to overturn South Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban so that their marriage will be recognized in South Carolina. That lawsuit was stayed (i.e., put on hold) back in April 2014 because the district court in South Carolina wanted to give the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals a chance to rule on the Virginia litigation. Why? Because it knew it would be bound by whatever the Fourth Circuit ruled.

But Alan Wilson is going to keep fighting because he says no ruling has been made in the Bradacs/Goodwin litigation.

So fight on, Alan Wilson! Fight on! But if you’ll indulge me, here’s a preview of how your fight is going to go down: 

Lesbians: We want our marriage recognized in South Carolina.

South Carolina: No.

Lesbians: But South Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

South Carolina: No it isn’t.

U.S. District Court: Yes it is. The Fourth Circuit already said so and we are bound to follow what the Fourth Circuit says.

South Carolina: Screw that. We’re taking it to the Fourth Circuit.

Fourth Circuit: What’s up, South Carolina. What can we do for you?

South Carolina: These lesbians want South Carolina to recognize their unholy union and we don’t want to. Same-sex marriage is banned in our state because of, you know, traditional marriage and preserving the family and a bunch of other crap you’ve already heard before.

Fourth Circuit: You’re right. We have heard all that crap before. We heard it all from Virginia, and we ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

South Carolina: So?

Fourth Circuit: So? What do you mean so? You’re in this circuit, South Carolina. The rules that apply to Virginia apply to you too.

South Carolina: Screw you, Fourth Circuit! We’re taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court. They’re sensible there.

U.S. Supreme Court: NOOOOOPE.

Look, South Carolina: I know you’re really committed to your bigotry, but you’ve already lost. Your same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. So let it go. Just start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples that want to get married already. The faster you marry them, the quicker they’ll get divorced—at least if the divorce rates in “traditional” marriages are any indication.

That goes for you too, Wyoming and Kansas. Both of y’all sit in the Tenth Circuit just like Oklahoma does. The Tenth Circuit struck down Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban and the U.S. Supreme Court has already said it doesn’t want to hear it. You can keep fighting it and looking like jackasses, or you can just let the gay wash over you.

It doesn’t hurt. I promise.