Brief filed on domestic violence statute

COLUMBIA, S.C. — SC Equality and partners South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, announced they are in full support of the State of South Carolina’s efforts to have the Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV) statute corrected to cover all unmarried victims of CDV whether they are gay or straight. To that end, the partners filed an amicus brief on Aug. 31.

SC Equality Executive Director Jeff Ayers said “SC Equality has filed this amicus brief to send a clear message to the South Carolina Supreme Court that South Carolinians demand equality.”

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled a section of the state’s domestic violence law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because it discriminates against gay couples, SC Equality said. The court focused on a statute providing that any unmarried victim who once shared a home with a batterer can only seek an order of protection if that batterer is of the opposite sex. The court ruled the language violates the rights of unmarried same-sex victims. However, the court found that the only remedy to the constitutional violation was to strike the section in its entirety, thereby leaving all unmarried couples both gay and straight without protection.

Parties in the lawsuit, as well as other organizations, have leant their support to the Attorney General Alan Wilson’s efforts to have the court reconsider its decision and provide a remedy to allow for protection for all couples.


Charleston set for Pride

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The 8th annual Charleston Pride will be held from Sept. 23-24.

The festivities begin with a Pride Parade beginning at 9 a.m. from the Wragg Mall in downtown and ends at Colonial Lake, 46-54 Ashley Ave. Afterward, head to Brittlebank Park, 185 Lockwood Dr., for the Pride Festival complete with live entertainment, vendors, drink booths and food trucks.

A new option this year will be a Storefront Decorating Contest. This free promotional opportunity gives businesses a chance to showcase their business’ support of the LBGTQ community. Window displays go up on Sept. 9 and remain until Sept. 24. Judging will be based on best use of color, message and Pride theme. The winner will be announced at the Pride Festival and via social media.


Pride a success despite scare

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Grand Strand Pride 2017 celebration was a big success, said its organizers, and it surpassed their expectations.

However, at 4:05 p.m. on Aug. 26 during the Business Expo and Gala, a bomb threat called into the hotel where the event was being held sent the festivities into crisis mode. The target was Grand Strand Pride.

Pride Co-Founder Terry Livingston said, “Hotel management immediately got the assistance of the Myrtle Beach Police and notified me of the threat. We fully co-operated with the police and agreed on a plan of action. Additional resources were called in from North Myrtle, including K-9.” He added, “Additional patrols were added around the resort for the remainder of the night to aid our event security. The location was quickly cleared of anything deemed suspicious and the night went off without a hitch. We appreciate all law enforcement officials who were there and gave us updates throughout the event. Please know that at all times, the safety of everyone at the event and also all hotel guests were our top concerns as decisions were made.”

The following day at a brunch, an Interfaith Moments of Sacred Pride was observed and led by Fr. Barry Stopfel, who shared his message of how love did not exclude, how the LGBTQ community is worthy, and concluded with a poem which said “With gratitude for the freedom to be our true authentic selves…With the courage that comes from challenging fear…With sorrow for those who could not be here with us today, and in honor of those who died of AIDS or who lost their lives…With grief for those whose pain was unbearable and who left us too soon…Looking ahead to the justice still withheld…With the confidence that a sense of community banishes isolation and loneliness…With the rainbow flag flying high, a sense of beloved community among us, and the joy that comes from making new connections, may we live the Spirit of Pride.”


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.