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Sen. Vincent Sheheen says South Carolina should ‘pause’ on gay marriage issue

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As the state of South Carolina remains prepared to defend the state’s ban on gay marriage, one gubernatorial candidate feels the government should aim its focus away from the gay marriage issue, for now. According to a report by the Greenville News on Friday, State Sen. Vincent Sheheen says the state should “pause” on defending its gay marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue.

Sheheen is the Democratic nominee for governor and feels South Carolina is more than likely destined to follow a similar path as Virginia and other states where bans on gay marriage have been ruled unconstitutional, especially since the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which also covers South Carolina, has upheld a ruling in which a federal judge in Virginia overturned the state ban. The ruling led Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina to cease his defense of his state’s ban, stating that a ruling in favor of gay marriage in North Carolina’s pending cases were inevitable.

But South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson took a different path, as he remains adamant on fighting against the current lawsuit challenging the state’s 2006 voter approved ban. Sheheen personally does not support gay marriage, but feels the state should wait until the highest court rules on it.

Sheheen said, “The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide this issue, and our state should pause in the legal battles and await a decision by the court. When that decision is given, we must come together and abide by the law of the land, and regardless of the outcome churches must always maintain their ability to determine what ceremonies they conduct and recognize.” Sheehen issued his statement days after the appeals court ruled Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Meanwhile, petition candidate Tom Ervin took an even stronger stance, stating that the government does not belong in the bedroom period.

Ervin said on Tuesday following Virginia’s ruling, “My personal faith affirms that marriage is between a man and a woman but under our Constitution, people in this country are afforded equal protection under our laws. This means that anyone should be free to marry the person they love.”