United States District Judge Richard Mark Gergel of Charleston released a 26-page ruling on Wednesday which states that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is the controlling authority in the state of South Carolina, according to Metro Weekly, which means that the court’s earlier ruling that South Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional is fully binding.
The majority of voters in South Carolina supported an amendment to the state’s constitution that banned gay marriage, which was passed back in 2006, according to The Huffington Post. An appeals court overturned the same-sex marriage ban in Virginia last month, a ruling which also applied to South Carolina, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Despite the ruling, however, South Carolina continued to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Judge Gergel’s ruling is in a case that was brought to the court by two South Carolina women who applied for a marriage license after October’s shocking Supreme Court ruling that opened up same-sex marriage in a number of states. When their license was denied, the women filed suit in federal court. Judge Gergel delayed the effective date for his ruling until November 20th.