Democrat Miller's refusal to support S.C.'s Marriage Protection Amendment targeted by GOP radio ad

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 15, 2008
CONTACT: Tom Swatzel 843-222-7456

GEORGETOWN - The Georgetown County Republican Party started running a radio ad today that targets Democrat State Rep. Vida Miller's refusal to support South Carolina's voter-approved Marriage Protection Amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The ad says, "Seventy-seven percent of Georgetown County voters supported a Marriage Protection Amendment to our state constitution. But not liberal Democrat Vida Miller. In Columbia, Vida Miller made a motion to delay the amendment. It finally passed 96 to 3 -- with Vida Miller one of the tiny handful of liberals who refused to support it. With marriage still under threat by activist judges, tell Vida Miller to stop fighting against Georgetown County values in Columbia." Click here to listen to ad

Georgetown County Republican Party chairman Tom Swatzel said Miller's stand on the issue when it was debated in Columbia in 2005 "proves how liberal and out of step Rep. Miller is with the traditional family values shared by an overwhelming majority of Georgetown County and South Carolina voters."

"On the issue of protecting marriage, Rep. Miller stood with liberal activists and special interest groups in Columbia and against the widely-shared beliefs and values of the families and churches in Georgetown County," Swatzel said.

According to Swatzel, Miller can't be trusted to defend the state's marriage laws at a time when a California Supreme Court decision and the recent passage of a Massachusetts law that allows gay and lesbian marriage puts those laws at possible risk.

"The California decision and the Massachusetts law prove how right South Carolina and Georgetown County voters were to overwhelmingly approve a Marriage Protection Amendment to our state constitution, despite Democrat Vida Miller's opposition to constitutionally protecting marriage between one man and one woman," Swatzel said.

"Now that these decisions in other states pose possible threats to South Carolina's marriage laws in federal court, Georgetown County needs a state representative we can trust, who will fight to protect our state laws, not side with liberal activists and activist judges who want to radically redefine marriage," he said.

Swatzel said homosexual couples from the Palmetto State can travel to California or Massachusetts, get "married," then fly home to South Carolina and file federal lawsuits arguing that the "full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. Constitution requires the state to recognize marriages legally entered into in another state, in effect invalidating South Carolina's Marriage Protection Amendment and pre-existing one-man, one-woman marriage laws.

He noted that when the Marriage Protection Amendment appeared on the general election ballot in November 2006, 77 percent of voters statewide voted in favor of the proposal. The same percentage of voters in Georgetown County supported the amendment.

But before it could appear on the 2006 ballot, the amendment first had to win a two-thirds vote in each house of the General Assembly in 2005, which Miller did not support.

Miller resorted to a parliamentary procedure to successfully delay House consideration of the amendment in February 2005. When it finally came up for a vote the following month, Miller was one of only 21 House Democrats who refused to support placing the amendment on the ballot to allow South Carolina voters to decide the issue.

The state House Journal for February 24, 2005 recorded that on that day, when Marriage Protection Amendment supporters attempted to bring the amendment up for a vote, "Rep. Miller made the Point of Order that the (amendment) was improperly before the House for consideration since its number and title have not been printed in the House Calendar at least one statewide legislative day prior to second reading."

The House Journal for March 1, 2005 recorded Miller as present in the House on the day when the motion to place the amendment on the ballot was finally approved by a vote of 96 to 3, but in addition to the three Democrats who voted against allowing the people to vote on the issue, Miller joined 17 other Democrats present on the House floor who refused to cast a vote either way, abstaining on the issue.
Click here for House Journal excerpts

"By refusing to vote in favor of putting the amendment on the ballot, Vida Miller and other Democrats opposed even allowing the people of South Carolina and Georgetown County to vote on the issue," Swatzel said.

Swatzel said Miller's refusal to support the marriage amendment is consistent with the state Democrat Party platform, which says the party will "oppose any amendments to the South Carolina Constitution that codifies discrimination in any form harming the equal treatment under law for all citizens; and to support equal and full civil rights for all citizens, including gay, lesbian, and transgender citizens."
Click here for state Democrat Party platform

Miller's position is also consistent with that of the Georgetown County Democrat Party Swatzel says. County Democrat Party chairman Jamie Sanderson recently confirmed that the county party's web blog advertises and links to a website for a group that advocates gay and lesbian "marriage" rights. Sanderson said in the August 8th edition of the Georgetown Times regarding the marriage amendment issue, "The beauty of our Democratic Party is that we stand for choice. Ultimately, we are not the ones who decide what is right or wrong, nor are we to be judgmental of a person's lifestyle. . . The Democratic Party is the party for all people and we stand for the civil rights of those people at all times."

Miller faces Republican Jill Kelso in the November election.