(THE STATE) COLUMBIA, SC — Federal Judge Richard Gergel of Charleston overturned state law and ruled today that couples of the same sex have a right under the U.S. Constitution to marry in South Carolina.

Gergel’s decision is the first ruling in a South Carolina federal court that clearly states that state government has no compelling interest – nor does it have a right – to dictate to citizens who they can and cannot marry.

In his 26-page ruling, filed at 9:29 a.m. Wednesday, Gergel quoted from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ Bostic decision, saying it refuted the arguments made by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson.

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