GOP blasts Georgetown Democrat Party website's promotion of gay and lesbian "marriage"

Contact: Tom Swatzel (843) 222-7456

GEORGETOWN - A day after the Massachusetts legislature voted to repeal the state's 95 year old law preventing out of state gay and lesbian couples from marrying there, the Georgetown County Republican Party today blasted the county Democrat Party for advertising a website that promotes same-sex "marriage," a stand dramatically out of step with voters in a county and state in which 77 percent voted in favor of a 2006 state constitutional amendment protecting the definition of marriage as only between a man and woman.

County Republican Party Chairman Tom Swatzel said the local Democrats' stand comes at a dangerous time, when despite the passage of the state's Marriage Protection Amendment, traditional marriage in South Carolina remains at legal risk because of developments such as in Massachusetts and California.

Swatzel noted that according to the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts legislation will probably be sent to Governor Deval Patrick this week and will take effect 90 days after Patrick signs the measure. One Massachusetts House member told the Globe that "repealing the law would create chaos outside Massachusetts . . . other states will be forced to consider same-sex marriage or resolve disputes among couples who marry in Massachusetts but want benefits, or to divorce, back home." (Click here for Boston Globe article)

Swatzel agrees. "When the Massachusetts repeal takes effect, some time after the November elections, gay and lesbian activists from Columbia will be able to fly to Boston, get 'married,' then fly home to file a lawsuit asking some federal judge to overturn South Carolina's marriage amendment and force us to recognize a same-sex Massachusetts marriage license," he said.

With the issue still unsettled, Swatzel condemned the county Democrat Party's use of its web blog to advertise and link to a web site for a group that advocates gay and lesbian "marriage" rights. (Click here for Georgetown County Democrat blog)

The county Democrat Party's site links to the organization First Freedom First, which says on its website, "Religious-political interests are seeking a Federal Marriage Amendment -- or similar state constitutional amendments -- that would limit marriage only to 'the union of a man and a woman.' This would discriminate against the growing number of faith groups that perform same-sex marriages." (Click here for First Freedom First webpage on same-sex marriage)

"Georgetown County Democrat officials' promotion of so-called gay and lesbian 'marriage' shows just how far out of touch they are with the values shared by the overwhelming majority of families in our county, Democrat and Republican alike," Swatzel said.

"Sadly, however, the local party's promotion of same-sex 'marriage' is consistent with the South Carolina Democrat Party's opposition to the state Marriage Protection Amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2006," Swatzel said.

The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian activist magazine, reported in January regarding the South Carolina Democrat Party's stand on the issue: "One of the brighter spots of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender political work being done in South Carolina has been the community's evolving relationship with the state Democratic Party. . .During their 2006 marriage amendment fight, (gay and lesbian activists) managed to get a resolution included on the state party platform stating that the Democratic Party opposed the marriage amendment." (Click here for The Advocate article)

"Clearly, the moral, legal, and political battle to protect and preserve marriage between one man and one woman in South Carolina is not over, despite 77 percent of Georgetown County and South Carolina voters supporting our state Marriage Protection Amendment," Swatzel said. "As the battle continues, we call on the Georgetown County Democrat Party to stand with the families of our county and stop using their website to promote and legitimize efforts by gay and lesbian activists in Columbia and Boston to radically redefine marriage and undermine traditional family values."