Gay couples to apply for Greenville marriage licenses
07/30/2014 12:00 AM
07/29/2014 8:42 PM
Ivy Hill and Misha Gibson have tried twice before to obtain a marriage license in Greenville County, and both times they were denied.
Wednesday, they’ll try again.
They will be among six lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender couples applying for a license to marry at Greenville County Probate Court at County Square.
A video of the second time Hill and Gibson applied and were denied shows a man and a woman applying ahead of them and the woman reciting Bible verses.
Hill, one of the organizers of the Unity Rally Against Hatred held last weekend, said it is important to remember acceptance comes in stages.
“They were misquoting Bible verses at us,” Hill said in an interview last week. “That mentality is part of our culture on an everyday basis. It’s don’t ask, don’t tell. We’re saying do ask, do tell.”
Friends, family and clergy will accompany the six couples. The event is part of the WE DO Campaign, sponsored by the Campaign for Southern Equality.
It comes two days after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia’s statute banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.
South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit, and two cases are pending from the state now. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has said he will continue to fight the attempt to overturn South Carolina’s law, saying marriage is between a man and a woman.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Monday that he wouldn’t defend his state’s gay marriage ban. North Carolina is in the 4th Circuit along with West Virginia.
John Reckenbeil, who is representing the plaintiff in a case filed in Greenville County, said South Carolina’s statute is identical to Virginia’s.
His client is suing for the right to divorce a woman she says was her common law wife.
The other case involves a highway patrol officer and her wife who are suing to have the state recognize their marriage, which was performed in Washington, D.C. Federal courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas and Kentucky have also ruled that bans on same-sex marriage are against the U.S. Constitution.
In a press release, the Campaign for Southern Equality said U.S. Census records show there are 656 same-sex couples in Greenville County and 7,214 in South Carolina. The national group also said a 2013 poll showed 39 percent of South Carolina residents support gay marriage.
“Every day that Amendment One remains on the books it hurts families like the ones who live in Greenville County,” said the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
“This law is being challenged in the courts, and these brave couples are standing up because they have a fundamental right to marry and to have their marriage recognized in their home state.”
Hill said in the statement, “We apply for all of the LGBT youth who are looking for the strength to be themselves. We apply, because we believe that everyone’s hearts and minds can change around these issues once they see how human we actually are. But most importantly, we apply because we love each other, and want to spend the rest of our lives together.”
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