[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] refused [order, PDF] a request to block same-sex marriages in South Carolina on Thursday, making it the thirty-fifth US state [website] where same-sex marriage is legal. The lower court in South Carolina had lifted the state’s same-sex marriage ban earlier this month, and the Attorney General had asked [JURIST reports] the higher court to temporarily block the ruling, which the Supreme Court refused to do. Two of the Supreme Court’s conservative members, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were in favor of blocking the lower court’s ruling.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be one of the most controversial legal issues in the US today. Earlier this month the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld same-sex marriage bans [JURIST report] in four states, creating a split in the circuits as the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits [JURIST reports] have ruled same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. Last month the Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] seven pending same-sex marriage cases, allowing those appeals court rulings to stand and effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in several states, but the issue is once again before the court [JURIST report] following the Sixth Circuit ruling.