BUZZ: Pro-same sex marriage group to target South with ad campaign

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on February 23, 2014 

Supporters of marriage equality and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in South Carolina Marched for Equality down Gervais to Main street in Columbia last year.

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

— The South is about to be the target of a $1 million television ad campaign to garner support in court battles over same-sex marriage.

Freedom to Marry, a New York pro-gay marriage organization, is backing the "Southerners for the Freedom to Marry" campaign co-chaired by politicians, including U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia, The Washington Post reports.

But the ad campaign isn’t trying to win legislative support for same-sex marriage. Every state in the South has passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and Republicans dominate all but a small handful of Southern state legislatures.

Instead, the campaign will push to grow public support for same-sex marriage. About two dozen lawsuits challenging bans on gay marriage are pending before state and federal courts in Southern states, and Freedom to Marry hopes that building public support for same-sex marriage can influence those judges’ decisions.

In recent months, judges in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia have struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, though those rulings are stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in.

A Lexington County couple wedded in Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriages are legal, filed suit to challenge South Carolina's gay marriage ban last year.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson are fighting the lawsuit.

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