Federal judge strikes down SC gay marriage ban

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A federal judge struck down South Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, though marriage licenses can't immediately be handed out.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel gave state Attorney General Alan Wilson a delay until Nov. 20.

A spokesman for Wilson said he's reviewing the ruling.

Last month, Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley applied for a same-sex marriage license in Charleston County.

The U.S. Supreme Court last month refused to hear an appeal of a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia. That development opened the way for same-sex marriages in other states in the 4th Circuit. South Carolina was the only state in the circuit refusing to allow such marriages.

Meanwhile, the nation's highest court was considering Wednesday whether to block Kansas from enforcing its ban on gay marriage while federal courts review a legal challenge. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of two lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses.

A federal judge ordered the state to stop enforcing its ban as of 5 p.m. Tuesday — when county courthouses were closed for Veterans Day. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt appealed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She put the federal judge's order on hold and gave the ACLU a chance to respond to the state's request to maintain the ban for now.Gay marriageSame-sex marriageSouth CarolinaUS

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