Attorney General Alan Wilson has asked a federal appeals court to put on hold a judge's order allowing gay marriage in the state, warning that not doing so will cause irreparable damage to South Carolina.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Wednesday threw out the state's constitutional ban on same sex marriage and blocked any state official from enforcing it. But the judge wrote his order would not take effect until noon Nov. 20 so Wilson could appeal.
Wilson asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday to stay the judge's order until the entire appeals panel can consider the issue.
In the alternative, if the appeals court doesn't issue a stay, Wilson asked for time to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here is where it gets interesting:
The 4th Circuit has already struck down Virginia's gay marriage ban, a 2-1 ruling that applied to other states in the circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of that case last month and South Carolina remains the only state in the circuit refusing to allow such marriages.
In asking for the stay, Wilson argued the dissenting opinion in the Virginia case was the correct one.
That opinion supports South Carolina's position that "same-sex marriage restrictions do not discriminate on the basis of sex and that South Carolina's definition of marriage, dating from colonial times, a union of a man and a woman is supported by rational grounds," Wilson wrote in his request.
He warned that without a stay South Carolina will suffer harm because same-sex marriages will go forward only to cause legal confusion about the status of those married if the state prevails.
In other words, Wilson is prepared to take this as far as it can go. I wonder how much of the taxpayers money will he be using?