SC politics: Same-sex marriage supporters protest

April 15, 2014 

Same-sex marriage supporters protest S.C. tax policies

On tax day, Shauna Hannan says she is stuck.

Hannan, her wife and other same-sex couples, legally married outside South Carolina but now S.C. residents, cannot file their S.C. taxes as a married couple, she told a group gathered to protest the state’s tax policies Tuesday.

Same-sex marriage supporters gathered on Tax Day at north Columbia’s Reformation Lutheran Church to protest the state Revenue Department’s requirement that same-sex couples in South Carolina must file their taxes as single, even if they legally were married in another state.

Ryan Wilson, director of S.C. Equality, said the state’s requirement means married same-sex couples only are married 364 days out of the year in South Carolina. Marriage is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week commitment represented by the wedding ring, Wilson said, calling for supporters to take off their rings on Tax Day as a protest.

Panel OKs test of erosion-control devices

The state Senate Finance Committee passed a budget amendment Tuesday that would allow the use of wave-dissipation devices, intended to help control coastal erosion, for a year.

Legislation before both the Senate and S.C. House would allow the devices to be used in critical areas on beaches and dunes. The bills describe the devices as being designed to dissipate wave energy, parallel to the shoreline, and being portable, capable of being deployed or removed within 72 hours or less.

The amendment would allow the use of the devices for a year to gather evidence on whether their use should be continued, said state Sen. Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee. “It’s all about erosion control.”

Democrats to remove Bethune from House 64 primary

The S.C. Democratic Party says it is taking steps to remove Willie Lee Bethune from the S.C. House District 64 primary in June after his conviction for Medicaid fraud.

Party chairman Jaime Harrison says the party is acting after Bethune was convicted of 10 counts of Medicaid fraud, The Sumter Item reported. Bethune was sentenced to a year in jail last week.

The change will leave state Rep. Bobby Ridgeway, D-Manning, without a challenger.

Bethune was found guilty of forging signatures on documents filed with the federal government when he was a contract social worker for a counseling services group associated with Clarendon County District 1 schools.

Cruz returns to South Carolina

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Tea Party hero and potential Republican presidential contender in 2016, was in South Carolina again Tuesday.

Cruz was to speak at the Free Enterprise Foundation’s annual awards dinner at The Citadel. The foundation, based at the state military college, is a research institution dedicated to fostering a greater understanding of free enterprise.

It’s the third time in a year that Cruz has visited South Carolina, site of the South’s first GOP primary in 2016.He spoke last November in Columbia, cultivating relationships with religious conservatives. Cruz also was in the state last May, addressing the annual state GOP dinner.

Cruz is the second 2016 GOP contender to visit the state in as many days. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was in the state on Monday.

Cassie Cope and the Associated Press

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