COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - A United States district court ruling filed Tuesday is a victory for a South Carolina couple who sued the state to have their same-sex marriage performed in the nation's capital legally recognized here.
The court ruling orders South Carolina to legally recognize same-sex marriages that were performed in other states where same-sex marriage is legal.
That ruling was filed the same day the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency stay that would have allowed the state's ban on same-sex marriages to stand.
The court granted a motion filed filed by South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Katherine Bradacs and her partner, Tracie Goodwin, finding that South Carolina's refusal to legally recognize their 2012 marriage violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
"Katie and I are so happy that this day has finally arrived after this long battle," Goodwin said late Tuesday. "We believed when we filed this case nearly two years ago that we were right, and Judge Childs agreed with us! It is such a great day for us and our family. It is a great day in South Carolina for marriage equality! Our family unit is complete!"
The couple was married in Washington, DC, in 2012, and their marriage is legally recognized by the federal government. But they sued to have that marriage legally recognized in South Carolina as well.
According to Beth Littrell, senior attorney with Lambda Legal, the ruling means that regardless of whether same-sex marriage is legal in South Carolina, the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where it is legal.
The court also found a second motion in the case, that the state's refusal to legally recognize their marriage was a violation of the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause.
However, Littrell said, the fact that the court sided with them on either argument means the state still must legally recognize their marriage.