State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who is running for governor, finally released a statement this afternoon regarding Monday's 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on same-sex marriage, calling for a "pause" in the state's legal defense of its anti-same-sex marriage law.
Sheheen has said in the past he opposes marriage equality. However, he hadn't yet weighed in on how South Carolina leaders should handle the recent 4th Circuit ruling, which says Virginia's amendment banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. A challenge to South Carolina's own marriage amendment has been on hold in federal court awaiting the Virginia ruling. Now, several civil rights groups are calling on the governor and attorney general to stop defending the state law in court, as it's likely to be found similarly unconstitutional by the 4th Circuit.
Gov. Nikki Haley said the state will continue defending the law, adding the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately make the decision on same-sex marriage.
Tom Ervin, who is on the ballot as an "independent Republican," said that while he opposes same-sex marriage, the government has no business telling people who to marry, and the state should drop its defense. "Further action on this matter, such as an appeal by the state, is a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Ervin said.
Sheheen didn't go that far, instead calling for a "pause in the legal battles" until the Supreme Court makes a ruling.
Here's Sheheen's statement, sent to us by his campaign:
“I have made my personal position regarding marriage clear."
“The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide this issue, and our state should pause in the legal battles and await a decision by the court. When that decision is given, we must come together and abide by the law of the land, and regardless of the outcome churches must always maintain their ability to determine what ceremonies they conduct and recognize. Every South Carolinian should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of sexual orientation, race, or gender, and I will continue working to end discrimination in the workplace and to ensure schools are safe from bullying.”
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