Gov. Henry McMaster is asking the S.C. Supreme Court to reconsider a recent ruling that leaves unmarried couples unprotected by the state’s domestic violence law.
Last month, the court struck down portions of the state’s domestic violence law because the language only covered opposite-sex couples living together. The ruling followed a suit by a woman who was denied a restraining order against a former same-sex partner.
But the court’s ruling left all unmarried couples unprotected by the state’s domestic violence statute. The court has been asked to reconsider the ruling by both S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, who argued for the government in the case, and Bakari Sellers, the attorney for the woman who filed the original suit.
The court has agreed to delay implementation of the ruling.
McMaster says the ruling risks jeopardizing pending criminal cases and leaves law enforcement unsure how to address similar domestic violence situations in the future.
“We must never allow uncertainty in our domestic violence laws,” McMaster said. “Law enforcement deserves predictability in responding to reports of domestic violence, while victims deserve dependable statutory safeguards.”