First gay couple to apply for SC marriage license files lawsuit

Condon and Bleckley (Stacy Jacobson/WCIV)

{}CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston County councilwoman Colleen Condon and her partner are suing to get their marriage license issued.The lawsuit names Governor. Nikki Haley, State Attorney General Alan Wilson and Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon as defendants."They should be calling caterers. Instead they're calling lawyers," Condon's attorney Beth Littrell said at a press conference Wednesday. Littrell works for Lambda Legal, an Atlanta-based firm.Littrell also said that politicians are "ignoring the rule of law and obstructing same-sex couples' right to get married." "This isn't a political issue," Colleen Condon said. "It's time to change. The law is clear."Citing the Bostic Case, Condon said the issue was settled in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Condon and Bleckley said they never expected to have to be the faces of same-sex marriage in South Carolina.

"When the Supreme Court of the United States says we have a right to get married I said there's no reason why we should wait," Condon said.

But they stood at a podium Wednesday to announce the suit, with the goal of getting federal court to declare South Carolina's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and for probate judges to issue licenses.

"The ruling from the Fourth Circuit stands. It is the law of the land. It binds all states in the Fourth Circuit and that includes South Carolina. But South Carolina government officials - the attorney general and the governor - are ignoring the rule of law. They're interfering and obstructing with all same-sex couple's rights to get married," Littrell said.

Attorneys for Condon and Bleckley said the governor and attorney general are making a last-ditch effort at a case they will lose.

All other states in the Fourth Circuit are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"It's futile and in fact a lot of people are hurt, one of which is all the taxpayers because it costs money and resources to fight a losing lawsuit," Littrell said.

More couples could be added to the lawsuit, attorneys said."This case will be decided in a court of law, not in the court of public opinion," a spokesperson for Wilson said in a statement Wednesday. "Obviously, we cannot comment on a lawsuit we have not seen, received, or been served with. Until a decision is rendered in this matter, Attorney General Wilson remains committed to performing his constitutional duty of upholding South Carolina's laws in the courts."

Condon and her fiancee, Nichols Bleckley, were the first of 30 same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license after Judge Condon began granting applications last week.Those applications were put on hold at the behest of Attorney General Alan Wilson.Wilson's petition to the state supreme court calls for a stop to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses until the U.S. District Court{} makes a ruling on Bradacs v. Haley, the South Carolina case challenging the legality of same-sex marriage bans.While the 4th Circuit Court made a similar ruling in a Virginia case which many legal analysts surmised would bring about the fall of same-sex marriage bans in the district, Wilson said the case, Bostic v. Schaefer, was not binding for South Carolina courts.The justices agreed with Wilson's petition and granted it.Judge Condon said that his office would continue to accept same-sex marriage license applications, but would not be issuing any licenses until the high court rules.Meanwhile, Condon says she and Bleckley have set a date and booked a venue for their wedding next fall.

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