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30 same sex couples apply for marriage in Charleston

(Stacy Jacobson/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- According to Charleston County Probate officials, 19 couples applied Wednesday for marriage licenses, and a few of them are picking them up Thursday morning. By the end of the day, 11 more had joined in.Whether or not those legal documents will remain so has yet to be seen.Less than 12 hours after a Charleston County probate court judge said he would be issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the state's Attorney General said he was petitioning the state's high court to stop the licenses.The day started with Judge Irvin G. Condon granting applications for same-sex marriage licenses.{}A spokesperson for the South Carolina Democratic Party released a copy of a letter sent by Judge Condon explaining his decision."As a result of the actions of the United States Supreme Court on October 6, 2014, the Charleston County Probate Court is required to accept and issue marriage licenses for same sex couples. Applications will be accepted beginning today, October 8, 2014, and the hour waiting period unless stayed by the South Carolina Supreme Court or another appropriate court," Judge Condon said in a statement.Condon went on to say that he thought the state Supreme Court would take up the matter before the 24-hour waiting period elapsed, making the license official.{}SC Equality officials announced that Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon and her fiance Nichols Bleckley were first to go to the Charleston County Probate at 9 a.m. to apply for their marriage license.Colleen Condon told ABC News 4 that the court accepted her application, the first accepted in the state. Officials at the Charleston County probate court said there were 19 same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.{}"The typical 24 hour waiting period applies, so hopefully it will be granted tomorrow," she said. "The Supreme court could stay it."ABC News 4 has reached out to officials at the Probate Court and are awaiting more information."We applaud Judge Condon's decision to accept a marriage license application from a same-sex couple in Charleston County and his plan to issue a marriage license after the 24-hour waiting period required by law in South Carolina," said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. "South Carolina is bound by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the Bostic case. Marriage equality must move forward across South Carolina. We urge Probate Courts across South Carolina to take the same step."State Attorney General Alan Wilson's communications director, Mark Powell, said Wilson's office could not comment on the matter because of the pending federal litigation.Richland County has also granted same-sex marriage licenses, according to local media reports there. In Dorchester County, officials said they do not have any direction on how to proceed, but have not had any marriage applications for same-sex couples, either. In Berkeley County, the probate judge said he would wait for the state to make a ruling on the pending case before moving forward.Meanwhile, in Greenville, courts are refusing to grant the licenses.South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she will respect the rule of law as decided by the courts on gay marriage.{}Haley said Wednesday that she personally believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman and she took an oath to uphold the state constitution, which bans same-sex unions. But Haley says there is confusion about the legal status of South Carolina's gay marriage ban and she is waiting for clarity from the courts.Haley says she was surprised Wednesday when Judge Condon started accepting applications for marriage licenses from same-sex couples.{}The governor says she hasn't spoken to Attorney General Alan Wilson about whether he will fight the license.And the religious community in Charleston also weighed in late Wednesday afternoon. Bishop Robert Guglielmone of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston said the Catholic faith stands for the dignity of every person regardless of their sexual orientation.{}"At the same time, the Church sustains that marriage is a sacrament instituted by God, not by man or by institution, and can only be between one man and one woman," he said. "It unites a husband and wife together for life and bonds them to any children that come from the union."The Palmetto Family Council called the decision by Judge Condon to grant the license applications a politically motivated deicison that is far from settled in the country and in the state of South Carolina."We applaud the decision of Attorney General Alan Wilson to allow active litigation in this matter to run its course and will continue to support the law as passed by South Carolina voters on marriage as it has existed from the beginning of time," Palmetto Family Council officials said in a statement.The U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear appeals on same-sex marriage bans is spawning diverging responses in the states indirectly affected by the move.Conservative states such as Kansas and Wyoming are for now refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. In more liberal outposts such as Colorado, gay marriage is officially legal.Officials in the conservative states acknowledge they'll have to reassess once legal challenges directly target their distinct state bans. For instance, South Carolina's attorney general said if a court specifically rules against its gay marriage ban, he'll then decide how to proceed.In the meantime, the American Civil Liberties Union and other gay rights advocates are assembling their legal teams and planning for the lawsuits to provide those specific challenges.We will continue to update this story as more details become available.Click here to join the conversation on Facebook.??
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