Horry County plans to issue same-sex marriage licenses at noon Thursday amid S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s plea with the U.S. Supreme Court to block a Court of Appeals’ ruling that allows it.
Georgetown County Probate Judge Waldo Maring said late Wednesday he planned to wait on instructions from a “higher authority.”
“I am going to follow the law, whatever the law is,” Maring said. “We’ll do whatever is required when we are informed.”
Two lesbian couples made South Carolina history in record-breaking chill Wednesday morning when one picked up the state's first same-sex marriage license and another was the first to exchange vows outside the Charleston County Courthouse.
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And then the legal frenzy that has characterized the past six weeks continued.
Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon was the first in South Carolina to issue licenses to same-sex couples after two major court rulings issued late Tuesday opened the state's legal doors. He began issuing them at 8:30 a.m. when the courthouse opened.
But just hours later, S.C. Court Administration advised probate judges to pause until either the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a stay that the state attorney general has requested, or until a deadline in another gay marriage case expires at noon on Thursday.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Wednesday he will go to the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent same-sex marriages from beginning in the state on Thursday.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied Wilson’s request to put on hold a judge’s order allowing the marriages. Last week U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel threw out South Carolina’s state constitutional ban on such marriages and said they could begin at noon Thursday.
There was a short period of time same-sex marriage licenses were allowed in South Carolina, and Josie Manigo, a clerk in Horry County Probate Court, said Wednesday there aren’t any pending same-sex marriage licenses here.
“We don’t have any applications out there,” Manigo said. “We were told we can’t even accept applications until after the ban is lifted.”
South Carolina law requires a 24-hour waiting period from a marriage license application and actually getting married, so Manigo said the earliest a same-sex couple could get married in Horry County is noon Friday.
Meanwhile, a second federal judge has ruled South Carolina must recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. In that case, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs in Columbia ruled South Carolina’s failure to recognize such marriages is unconstitutional.
The Post and Courier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.