A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, a decision which could have implications for South Carolina.
The three-judge panel on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Virginia’s ban on homosexual marriage and refusal to recognize such marriages from other states violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” Judge Henry Floyd, a former South Carolina district judge, wrote in the court’s opinion. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”
The ruling has implications in South Carolina, which is also located in the Fourth Circuit and is covered by the ruling’s precedent. Any legal challenge to South Carolina’s ban would almost certainly also go through the Fourth Circuit upon appeal. All parties in the case agree the final decision on state bans of gay marriage will likely be up to the U.S. Supreme Court.