News

Legislative Update

March 4, 2015

Following the Federal Court rulings in favor of marriage equality in South Carolina, anti-LGBT forces in the SC State House are responding with bills that would allow discrimination to continue against same-gender couples.
 
These bills range from permitting refusal of services to same-gender couples to cutting off funds to probate courts who grant marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Many of these bills, referred to as "Religious Freedom Restoration Acts," ostensibly prohibit the government from burdening an individual's exercise of religion except to achieve a compelling interest, and then only if that burden is the least restrictive means of reaching that interest. However, we see these bills as nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to give anti-LGBT proponents a "license to discriminate."
 
It is time to sound the alarm and take a stand. That's why South Carolina Equality, the statewide political and advocacy organization for LGBT civil rights, will continue to send out these Legislative Updates and Action Alerts to inform you of bills that have been introduced, where they stand in the legislative process, and what the fair-minded majority of South Carolinians can do to stop them.
 
WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO CONTINUE THIS FIGHT TO PROTECT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.
 
BILLS WE STRONGLY OPPOSE
 
S 0031 Concurrent Resolution, By Grooms and Verdin
 
Summary: Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
 
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO MAKE APPLICATION BY THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA UNDER ARTICLE V OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION FOR A CONVENTION OF THE STATES TO BE CALLED RESTRICTED TO PROPOSE AN AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION TO ESTABLISH THAT MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES SHALL CONSIST ONLY OF THE UNION OF A MAN AND A WOMAN.
 
UPDATE: 2/5/15 This Bill was referred to Subcommittee - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
S 0108 General Bill, By Bright
 
Summary: Department of Corrections
 
A BILL TO AMEND ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 3, TITLE 24 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO THE STATE PRISON SYSTEM, BY ADDING SECTION 24-3-83 TO DEFINE HORMONAL THERAPY, TO DEFINE SEXUAL REASSIGNMENT SURGERY, AND TO PROHIBIT THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FROM USING STATE FUNDS OR STATE RESOURCES TO PROVIDE A PRISONER WITH SEXUAL REASSIGNMENT SURGERY OR HORMONAL THERAPY.
 
UPDATE: 1/13/15 This Bill was referred to Committee on Corrections and Penology - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
 
Summary: Marriage licenses
 
A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 20-1-230 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO MARRIAGE LICENSES, TO PROVIDE THAT NO PERSON EMPLOYED BY A JUDGE OF PROBATE OR CLERK OF COURT SHALL BE REQUIRED TO TAKE ANY ACTION RELATED TO THE ISSUANCE OF A MARRIAGE LICENSE TO A SAME SEX COUPLE IF THE OBJECTION TO TAKING SUCH ACTION IS BASED UPON A SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEF, TO PROVIDE THAT THERE WILL BE NO LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM SUCH REFUSAL, TO PROHIBIT DISMISSAL, SUSPENSION, DEMOTION, DISCIPLINE, OR DISCRIMINATION BY THE JUDGE OF PROBATE OR THE CLERK OF COURT AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE FOR SUCH REFUSAL, AND TO PROVIDE FOR A CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES OR REINSTATEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, OR BOTH, WHERE EMPLOYMENT HAS BEEN ALTERED OR TERMINATED IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.
 
UPDATE: 1/13/15 This Bill was referred to Committee on Judiciary - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
H 3022 General Bill, By Chumley, G.R. Smith, Burns, Hill, Putnam, Allison and Daning
 
Summary: Prohibit recognition and benefits to same-sex marriage persons
 
A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 20-1-235 SO AS TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS AND PAYMENT OF GOVERNMENT SALARIES AND BENEFITS FOR ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE LICENSING AND SUPPORT OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, TO PROHIBIT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FROM RECOGNIZING, GRANTING, OR ENFORCING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LICENSES, TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF TAXES OR OTHER PUBLIC FUNDS TO ENFORCE A COURT ORDER TO ISSUE A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LICENSE, TO REQUIRE COURTS TO DISMISS CERTAIN LEGAL ACTIONS RELATED TO THE LICENSING AND RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND TO AWARD ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS IN THOSE ACTIONS, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE STATE FROM LIABILITY FOR CERTAIN CONDUCT.
 
UPDATE: 12/11/14 This Bill was referred to Committee on Judiciary - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
H 3150 General Bill, By G.R. Smith, Loftis and Kennedy
 
Summary: State agencies or employees
 
A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 8-1-15 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT NO AGENCY, OFFICIAL, OR EMPLOYEE OF THIS STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF SHALL ENFORCE OR IMPOSE A CIVIL, ADMINISTRATIVE, OR CRIMINAL SANCTION OR PENALTY WHICH PENALIZES OR OTHERWISE PUNISHES IN ANY MANNER AN INDIVIDUAL OR ENTITY FOR ITS REFUSAL TO PROVIDE GOODS OR SERVICES IN CONNECTION WITH A MARRIAGE OF TWO INDIVIDUALS OF LIKE GENDER.
 
UPDATE: 1/13/15 This Bill was referred to Committee on Judiciary - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL HELP TO ADVANCE PRO-EQUALITY LEGISLATION IN SOUTH CAROLINA
 
BILLS WE SUPPORT
 
Each year, South Carolina Equality sets out to change the face of our state through legislative advocacy. When we began 13 years ago, protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender South Carolinians were limited, at best. Since then, South Carolina Equality has joined with our allies in Columbia and with you to successfully sponsor more pro-equality legislation in South Carolina. We won't get there in one legislative session, but over the next several months, we will be advocating for a series of bills that will move us a little closer to the state of equality in which we all want to live.
 
 
Summary: Bullying
 
A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 59-63-130, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE PROHIBITION OF STUDENT HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION, OR BULLYING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SO AS TO PROVIDE A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER MAY GRATUITOUSLY INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF A STUDENT SUBJECTED TO HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION, OR BULLYING; AND TO AMEND SECTION 59-63-150, RELATING TO CERTAIN LEGAL IMMUNITIES FOR A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER WHO REPORTS AN INCIDENT OF STUDENT HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION, OR BULLYING IN COMPLIANCE WITH DISTRICT POLICY, SO AS TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL OR CIVIL LIABILITY FOR A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER WHO IN GOOD FAITH GRATUITOUSLY INTERVENES ON BEHALF OF A STUDENT SUBJECTED TO HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION, OR BULLYING.
 
UPDATE: 1/13/15 This Bill was referred to Committee on Education - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
H 3126 General Bill, By Rutherford and Cobb-Hunter
 
Summary: State filing status
 
A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 12-6-5000, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENT THAT A HUSBAND AND WIFE HAVE THE SAME STATE FILING STATUS AS FEDERAL STATUS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE TERMS "HUSBAND", "WIFE", AND "SPOUSE" INCLUDE LEGAL SAME-SEX MARRIAGES FROM THIS STATE OR ANY OTHER STATE AND MUST NOT BE CONSTRUED TO BE GENDER SPECIFIC.
 
UPDATE: 1/13/15 This Bill was referred to Committee on Judiciary - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
H 3135 Joint Resolution, By Rutherford and Cobb-Hunter
 
Summary: Marriage
 
A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, BY DELETING SECTION 15, ARTICLE XVII WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE ONLY LAWFUL DOMESTIC UNION RECOGNIZED IN THIS STATE IS A MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN.
 
UPDATE: 1/13/15 This Bill was referred to Committee on Judiciary - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED
 
H 3404 General Bill, By Whipper and R.L. Brown
 
Summary: Hate crimes
 
A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 18 TO CHAPTER 3, TITLE 16 SO AS TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR A PERSON CONVICTED OF A CRIME CONTAINED IN THIS CHAPTER WITH THE INTENT TO ASSAULT, INTIMIDATE, OR THREATEN A PERSON BECAUSE OF HIS RACE, RELIGION, COLOR, SEX, AGE, NATIONAL ORIGIN, OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION; AND TO AMEND SECTIONS 16-11-510 AND 16-11-520, BOTH AS AMENDED, RELATING TO MALICIOUS INJURY TO PERSONAL AND REAL PROPERTY, RESPECTIVELY, SO AS TO REVISE THE PENALTIES FOR MALICIOUS INJURY TO REAL PROPERTY OFFENSES AND TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL PENALTIES FOR PERSONS WHO MALICIOUSLY INJURE PERSONAL OR REAL PROPERTY OF ANOTHER PERSON WITH THE INTENT TO ASSAULT, INTIMIDATE, OR THREATEN THAT PERSON.
 
UPDATE: 1/22/15 This Bill was referred to Committee on Judiciary - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED H
 
3435 General Bill, By Rivers, Jefferson, Gagnon, Hicks, W.J. McLeod and Merrill
 
Summary: B.P. Act
 
A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, SO AS TO ENACT THE "B.P. ACT"; TO AMEND SECTION 59-63-140, RELATING TO BULLYING PROHIBITION POLICIES ADOPTED BY SCHOOL DISTRICTS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT WHEN SCHOOL OFFICIALS DETERMINE THAT A STUDENT HAS COMMITTED A PROHIBITED ACT, THE SCHOOL SHALL NOTIFY HIS PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR ANOTHER ADULT WHO CONSENTS TO HAVING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE STUDENT WITHIN ONE BUSINESS DAY, AND SHALL THEN MEET WITH THE STUDENT AND HIS PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR ANOTHER ADULT WHO CONSENTS TO HAVING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE STUDENT WITHIN THREE BUSINESS DAYS AFTER THIS NOTICE IS GIVEN; TO PROVIDE THE STUDENT MUST BE SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL UNTIL HE AND HIS PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR ANOTHER ADULT WHO CONSENTS TO HAVING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE STUDENT AGREES TO ATTEND COUNSELING OFFERED OR APPROVED BY THE DISTRICT; TO PROVIDE THE DISTRICT SHALL MAKE COUNSELORS, SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS, OR OTHER APPROPRIATE PERSONNEL CURRENTLY EMPLOYED OR CONTRACTED BY THE DISTRICT AVAILABLE FOR THIS COUNSELING; TO PROVIDE THE DISTRICT SHALL INFORM THE STUDENT AND HIS PARENTS, GUARDIANS, AND OTHER ADULTS WHO CONSENT TO HAVING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE STUDENT THAT THE REQUIREMENTS PROSCRIBED BY THE COUNSELOR MUST BE MET OR THE STUDENT WILL BE EXPELLED; AND TO PROVIDE THE DISTRICT SHALL INFORM ANOTHER SCHOOL IN WHICH THE STUDENTS SEEKS TO ENROLL OF THE STUDENT'S MISCONDUCT AND FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH RELATED COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS.
 
UPDATE: 1/28/25 This Bill was referred to Committee on Education and Public Works - NO HEARING DATE SCHEDULED