S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s continued fight against same-sex marriage is based on his argument that the definition of marriage has always been the prerogative of the states to determine. I suspect this is based on Amendment 10 of the U.S. Constitution (1791), which states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Although most of us in the Palmetto State know that the Civil War — a rebellion against the United States — began in Charleston, I was intrigued to discover that our state, in its infinite wisdom, rejected the following amendments to the Constitution:
Amendment 15 (1869), which ensures the right of black men to vote.
Amendment 19 (1919), which ensures women the right to vote.
Amendment 21 (1933), which repealed prohibition.
South Carolina, which gained statehood on May 23, 1788, did not prohibit same-sex marriage until 1996. Perhaps the notion of women marrying women and men marrying men never occurred to anyone until then.
Yet today it is against the law to reject the right of black men (and all women, for that matter) to vote. And prohibition has been dead in the water for 81 years.
A sea change has occurred, and today when state employees answer the phone — as required by our current governor with “It’s a great day in South Carolina” — they are speaking the truth.