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Supreme Court Denies Stay in South Carolina Same-Sex Marriage

The Supreme Court has rejected a request to put gay marriage on hold in South Carolina, clearing the way for the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at noon Thursday. A federal judge in South Carolina last week declared the state's ban unconstitutional, but gave state officials one week to file any appeals. He ordered that his ruling would take effect at noon Thursday.

The state attorney general then asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, to put a hold on the judge's order while the state pursued an appeal. When the appeals court said no, the state went to the Supreme Court — which has now turned it down, too.

South Carolina now becomes the 35th state to permit same-sex marriage.

Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas said they would have granted the stay, the second time Scalia and Thomas have indicated that they believe the highest court in the land should grant stays to states that seek to block same-sex marriage until the contentious issue is settled once and for all.

IN-DEPTH

Daniel Arkin contributed to this report.