US: State governor and attorney general given 7 extra weeks to answer challenge to equal marriage ban

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A judge has allowed the governor and attorney general of the US state of South Carolina to have seven extra weeks to consider a lawsuit filed against a state-wide ban on equal marriage.

Governor Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson have received the additional seven weeks from Judge Joe Anderson.

The pair now have until 15 November 2013 to answer the lawsuit.

Mark Powell, a spokesman for the attorney general said Wilson “plans to fully defend the state’s law.”

The lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on equal marriage was brought by Highway Patrol trooper Katherine Bradacs and Tracy Goodwin, her wife.

It was filed on 28 August by their attorney John Nichols in US District Court.

The suit challenges the state’s Defense of Marriage Law, and a 2007 amendment to the state’s constitution. Both ban equal marriage, and also the legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

It is the first legal challenge to the state’s ban on equal marriage since the US Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was unconstitutional.