Tuesday, September 03, 2013

South Carolina's unconstitutional amendment to state's constitution is officially challenged

Katherine Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin

COLUMBIA — A South Carolina Highway Patrol officer and her lesbian partner are challenging a seven year old unconstitutional amendment to the state's constitution that banned them from being married.

The challenge was filed on Wednesday, exactly two months to the day that the Supreme Court gaveled down the Defense of Marriage Act.

SCHP officer Katherine Bradacs and her wife Tracie Goodwin filed the lawsuit at the US District Court in Columbia along with their attorney, John Nichols. They were married in the nation's capital last year.

"By defining marriage in this way, South Carolina discriminates on the basis of sex," said the suit. "The Supreme Court has made clear that perpetuation of traditional gender roles is not a legitimate government interest."

That's not all. The lawsuit goes on to say that the state's laws on same-sex marriage fail "any level of constitutional scrutiny."

"Neither traditional nor moral disapproval of same-sex relationships or marriage for gay and lesbian couples is a legitimate basis for unequal treatment of same-sex couples under the law," said the suit.

The marriage between Mrs. Bradacs and Mrs. Goodwin is recognized by the federal government, which has official jurisdiction over the City of Washington. The Supreme Court gaveled down the Defense of Marriage Act in US v. Windsor on June 28, citing the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

"If her marriage to Plaintiff Bradacs was recognized in the State of South Carolina, not only could Plaintiff Bradacs be entitled to make a claim as a surviving beneficiary of Plaintiff Goodwin's VA benefits, but Plaintiff Goodwin would be entitled to receive more in disability from the VA if her marriage to Plaintiff Bradacs were recognized in the State of South Carolina," said the suit.

"South Carolina is a fairly conservative state, but it's progressive in a lot of ways," said attorney Nichols. "And it's our belief and our faith that the court will take a look at the changing views around the country and the changing views in our state."

[WIS News 10]

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