Scroll To Top
Marriage Equality

Judge Accepts S.C.'s First Marriage Application From Same-Sex Couple

Judge Accepts S.C.'s First Marriage Application From Same-Sex Couple


Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley may become the first same-sex couple to legally wed in South Carolina.

A probate court has accepted a marriage application from a lesbian couple in South Carolina.

Colleen Condon, a Charleston County Council member, and her fiancee, Nichols Bleckley, may become the first same-sex couple to wed in the Palmetto State, reports The Post and Courier, a Charleston-based outlet and the South's oldest daily newspaper.

In an unexpected move, Probate Judge Irvin G. Condon, a distant relative of of Colleen Condon, decided Wednesday to accept their application to wed, and the couple will receive their marriage license after a mandatory one-day waiting period if the application is approved.

"It's an exciting day for South Carolina to have a marriage license accepted for the first time from a same-sex couple," Colleen Condon said. "We appreciate that Judge Condon can understand the law and follow the law in the state of South Carolina."

On Tuesday, Judge Condon said he would not issue licenses, in the wake of remarks by the state's attorney general, Alan Wilson, who said he would defend South Carolina's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Both statements came after the U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to review an appellate court decision that allows same-sex couples couples to wed. Although the case didn't involve South Carolina directly, the Fourth U.S. Circuit of Appeals has jurisdiction over the state. Activists have said the ruling immediately applies there, though the ban has not been officially lifted.

However, Condon released a follow-up letter that expressed a change of heart, declaring that the Charleston County Probate Court will begin to accept applications from same-sex couples Wednesday.

"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," Condon wrote. "Applications will be accepted beginning today, October 8, 2104, and the Charleston County Probate Court will issue the marriage license after the mandatory 24 hour waiting period unless stayed by the South Carolina Supreme Court or other appropriate court."

Responses from other probate courts in the state have been mixed. The Post and Courier reports that Greenville County judge Debora Faulkner has rejected three marriage applications from same-sex couples, in order to await the results of a federal lawsuit. Cherokee County Probate Judge Joshua Queen also noted his disagreement with Condon's decision in a statement.

"It was my hope that all forty-six of our state's probate courts could be uniform in relation to our acceptance or denial of same-sex marriage license applications," he noted. "Judge Condon's decision this morning has changed that. I have advised my fellow judges to review the federal decision in relation to the South Carolina Constitution and decide whether to accept or deny the application based on each Judge's individual interpretation."

But Condon and Bleckley, who became engaged last Valentine's Day, noticed a change in the application that gave them hope. In the section for names, the form read "Applicant 1" and "Applicant 2," rather than "Bride" and "Groom."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories