Thursday, October 09, 2014

SC mayor teaches governor, attorney general how to treat same-sex couples

Mayor Steve Benjamin
While SC Governor Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson succeeded in temporarily postponing the inevitable by getting the state Supreme Court to halt the issuing of same-sex marriage equality licences, they got upstaged by the generosity and progressive thinking of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

He taught them a lesson about how to treat their lgbt constitutents:
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin wants to extend full family benefits to same-sex couples that work for the city who have a valid marriage license from any state in the country.

In a letter to city council, City Manager Teresa Wilson, and the city's human resources director, Benjamin said it was time to extend those benefits because of the "significant amount of recent movement regarding marriage equality" in South Carolina.

That letter was submitted hours after Charleston County probate judge Irvin Condon began accepting same-sex marriage applications.

Benjamin says he realizes new costs may come up as a result of his new benefits offer, but he expects them to be minor.

"Let me be clear," Benjamin said. "This is no longer a discussion of faith, politics, or even law. It is simply a matter of time. But we have an opportunity now to demonstrate leadership, foresight and the responsibility the of Columbia should expect from their city."

However, city officials say given Thursday's ruling by the State Supreme Court to halt all marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the matter is fully settled by a higher court, Benjamin's request has been put on hold.

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