In response to a bill, HB 3022 , filed in the South Carolina legislature that would prevent state judges from recognizing or upholding marriage rights for same-sex couples, and stipulating that judges who do not dismiss cases regarding these rights will be automatically removed from the case and not be paid, Justice at Stake Director of State Affairs Debra Erenberg issued the following statement:
“This is a brazen political attack on the independence of the judicial branch, of the ‘end run’ variety. Judges can’t do their jobs when legislators threaten their livelihood for ruling on properly-presented legal cases. The legislative branch needs to respect the unique role of courts in protecting everyone’s rights, regardless of whether it’s politically popular or expedient to do so.”
The bill at issue states, “No state or local taxpayer funds or governmental salaries may be paid for an activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.” It also declares, “No state or local governmental employee officially shall recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license.”
A portion of the bill pertaining specifically to judges states, “If a judicial officer violates this section, that judicial officer is disqualified from office pursuant to Section 19, Article V of the South Carolina Constitution, 1895.”
Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to keep America's courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom - so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law. For more about Justice at Stake, go to www.justiceatstake.org or www.gavelgrab.org.
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