Spartanburg judge rules on Virginia's same-sex marriage ban - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg judge rules on Virginia's same-sex marriage ban

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SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A victory for same-sex marriage in Virginia could be a sign of things to come in the Carolinas.

Judges in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage on Monday. Since that circuit court covers North and South Carolina, the decision should be reflected in those states once a relevant case is heard.

The three-judge panel who wrote opinions recognized that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable, but they said that's not a legitimate basis for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.

One of the judges who ruled the ban is unconstitutional is from Spartanburg, Judge Henry F. Floyd.

A lawyer who works just down the block from Floyd said this opinion is exactly what needed to happen.

John Reckenbeil represents an Upstate woman who wasn't allowed to appear in Greenville County Family Court for a divorce hearing because she wanted to divorce her common-law wife.

He said whenever her case is heard, the judge should use Monday's ruling as a precedent, which would grant her benefits. If not, the case will go to the circuit court, who wrote Monday's opinion.

This Wednesday, Reckenbeil plans to submit legal argument as to why Swicegood's case should be heard, and now he said he has Floyd's opinion to include in his argument.

"Today is the day that will be put in history books as to show that the conservative South is of reasonable mind and that one of our most intelligent federal judges wrote a decision to say ‘come on people, it's time. This is no longer an issue for discussion. This is a fundamental right,'" said Reckenbeil.

However, Spartanburg state Sen. Lee Bright said that the government should just stay out of the decision that state voters chose.

"It's not in the constitution to get involved with marriage," Bright said. "It's very clear, and I wish the folks at the federal level would be more concerned about our borders than they are about what states do when it comes to marriage."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said his office won't defend their state's ban on same-sex marriage any longer since the ruling is bound to overturn their law.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson,  though, will continue to defend its ban, saying why should he change the state's course when it will likely be the Supreme Court that will make the final decision on gay marriage.

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