Using the Power of the Purse to Preserve Traditional Marriage

State Representative Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg) is working with other conservatives to craft a response to the efforts of a few Federal judges to force South Carolina to legalize homosexual marriage. Rather than waiting on the legislature to convene in January, Rep. Chumley and other supporters of traditional marriage are calling on Governor Nikki Haley to call a special session of the General Assembly before more damage can be done by the Federal courts.

“We have to move quickly,” Chumley said. “Every day the Federal courts and their liberal enablers are working to destroy the traditional values of our society and marriage is the main line of attack.” 

Chumley suggested that citizens who are concerned about this issue should contact the governor’s office personally and encourage her to call a special legislative session. The governor’s may be contacted via the internet at

This issue reached a critical point November 19 when all county probate judges statewide were ordered to commence issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals by order of the South Carolina Supreme Court. The Supreme Court order was based on a decision by the Federal courts.

The controversy started when Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin G. Condon announced that he would issue marriage licenses to a lesbian couple in direct defiance of the South Carolina Constitution.

Although the quick intervention of Attorney General Alan Wilson put a temporary hold on the matter, the Federal courts moved quickly to sidestep the legal process and force homosexual marriage in South Carolina against the wishes of a large majority of voters.

In a 2006 statewide referendum, South Carolina voters amended the state constitution to indisputably define that “A marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” The amendment was approved by 78% of the voters.

A deacde earlier, the General Assembly passed a defense of marriage statute, prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Despite the affirmative actions of majorities of both houses of the General Assembly and a 3/4 majority of the voters at large, seven years later same-sex marriages are deemed legal in South Carolina simply because of judicial activism.

Rep. Chumley said that while he appreciates the efforts of Attorney General Wilson in defending South Carolina law in court, many of his constituents want further action from their elected leaders to defend traditional marriage.

Rep. Chumley said that it was essential that the legislature address the recent Federal court rulings on same-sex marriage, for three central reasons.

First he said that the federal district court’s decisions violate their own precedents. The United States Supreme Court had previously decided in the Windsor case that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was invalid because marriage laws are clearly within the reserved powers of the states.

Second, Rep. Chumley said that the arbitrary court decisions violated the fundamental principle of respecting the will of the  overwhelming majority of the voters.

Third, Rep. Chumley said these actions violate God’s law from which all moral law is derived. “This court action destroys the common values which give our society cohesiveness,” Rep. Chumley said. “It is an attack on our moral foundation.”

Rep. Chumley has also prefiled legislation called the “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act” in the State House of Representatives. This legislation prohibits taxpayer funds or governmental salaries from being used to pay for activities that include licensing or support of same-sex marriage or enforcing any order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.  This legislation defends traditional marriage by utilizing the State’s power of the purse.

Rep. Chumley said that using the legislature’s power of appropriations was a time-honored method of accomplishing the will of the people. He pointed out that one of the Founders, James Madison, observed that, “This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance . . . .”


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